The Fine Art of Staying Safe During Fine Arts

Violin -- closeup by pellaea is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“Violin — closeup” by pellaea is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Gabby Pippins, Writer

All classes have been looking a bit different due to COVID-19, but most have it easy compared to Fine Arts. Since these are performance classes, students have to find safe, socially distanced ways to perform to their full potential. Remote and face-to-face learning have taken a new meaning for Fine Arts students. Take Orchestra, for example. The students at home do not have much to do when preparing for the class.

Preparation time for orchestra and band classes vary considerably, depending on whether a student is remote or face-to-face. In terms of getting ready for class, remote students may have an easier routine.

“You give yourself a spot in your house, make sure your instrument and yourself are showing and you play,” Camerata violinist and junior Mia Linnex said. “You have to make sure your music is printed out and you are on mute during independent practice.”

For band students at home, things are very similar to orchestra students at home. Having some students on campus where they can hear and be heard while others have to practice with their devices on mute leads to some diverse moments in rehearsal.

 “The people at home join a zoom meeting and play at the same time as us.” Symphonic sax player and junior Joshua Connors said. “We can not hear them while we play, but they can hear us.”

On the other hand, face-to-face orchestra and band students have a lot to do before, during and after class.

“We sanitize when we come in, when we come back from the bathroom and after we clean up,” Linnex said. “After we finish class, we spray the chairs (and stands if we are using them), put our instruments away (only two people at a time), throw the wipes away and use sanitizer after everything.”

The larger the group is, the more complicated the setup has to be for safety and social distancing. The procedures are similar to those of Orchestra with regards to cleanliness. 

¨We assemble instruments in the band room, then we go to the auditorium, the only room big enough for us to spread out enough to safely take our masks off,” Connors said. “We all have our own instrument, and the rentals were cleaned before school started and will be thoroughly cleaned when we turn them in.”

When it is time to practice for marching band, the process gets even more elongated.

“After school, we get the in school kids and at home kids for marching band practice,” Joshua said. “We are spaced out far enough to take off our masks and our entire show is designed to guarantee we stay a safe distance away.”

Choir is another fine art that has been affected, and there are extra precautions taken since the students are singing.

“We sing what they ask, but we have to keep our mics muted,” junior choir student Damian Watts said. “For in-person people, they do the same thing except they have to wear face shields and masks while they sing and the chairs are six feet apart.”

Watts is also in art, and he said that most of the things they do are digital and that everyone sits at separate tables.

For those students who are involved in extracurricular activities that involve a fine art, those processes to stay clean and safe are just as grueling.

“The online part is just recording assignments(recording yourself playing your part with a backing track), and we have discussion questions that we post answers and responses to,” Jazz Club bassist and junior Isabel Kerry said. “Since it is a Jazz combo, everybody has to come to class for 30-minute practices every Tuesday and Thursday.”

Although this is a club, the safety precautions are taken very seriously.

“We stay distanced by making sure the chairs that we sit in are pretty far apart, and we have tape on the ground so we know where they go,” Kerry said. “We also have to wear masks (I am a bassist, so I keep mine on the whole time, but horn players have to pull their masks down when they play and pull them back up when we are taking a break or talking).”

Tech Theatre also has its share of keeping clean and staying safe, especially keeping the Theatre kids safe while acting.

“The people doing in school learning are working on a storage place for face shields, because shields have been deemed necessary for the department due to acting, singing, etc,” tech theatre student and junior Sophie Krajmalnik said. “I am the only online person in my cohort, so I am going to school to pick up the storage and paint it at home.”

The performances have to change to encourage social distancing along with the number of people working together.

“It is going to be very different as we are going to break into small groups of actors and technicians to completely design each scene instead of everyone working together,” Krajmalnik said. “For social distancing, my cohort has it easy because there are only four of us and I am online, but everyone I have seen has been wearing masks, which is greatly appreciated.”