In early September, Temple University President Richard M. Englert made the announcement that 95% of Temple students are going to have their classes moved online. However, one of the few classes that are essential on campus are the performing music ensembles of Temple.
This has forced jazz and concert bands, orchestras, and private lessons to find a way to conduct their rehearsals safely in the midst of COVID-19. Ellie O’Hare, a graduate student at The Boyer College of Music and Dance describes the recent precautions that she and others are currently dealing with.
“There’s just a lot of safety measures in place. You have to walk up specific staircases to our seats, we have to use puppy pee pads to catch our condensation, there are big plexiglass screens that makes it difficult to see the conductor so it’s definitely different for sure.”
All students during rehearsals and lessons are six feet apart. Unfortunately, wind instruments give off a bigger threat than strings to potentially spreading COVID-19. Adjunct Professor Issac Young says there is one obvious difference in protocol between string and wind instruments.
“It’s very easy for string players to distance and wear masks the whole time because we don’t need our mouths to perform. I know for a fact that orchestras with wind ensembles have to have masks that have a slit, so they keep the mask over the nose and as much of their mouth as possible so the mouthpiece can go in” he said.
At the moment, performances by all Boyer groups are only available online through YouTube live streaming and Boyer’s website. More information on past performances and upcoming live events can be found on their website at temple.edu/boyer.