Amidst COVID-19 and its safety protocols, the Philharmonic Orchestra and Wind Symphony successfully presented their virtual Spring Showcase on Mar. 25.
An alternative to live concerts, the performance consisted of prerecorded videos on YouTube that were filmed live during class time, with a concert repertoire featuring the pieces “Mighty Mite,” “Of Glorious Plumage,” “America” and “Courage.” Although the showcase ran smoothly, the rehearsal process was challenging. For wind musicians who practiced outside in the parking lot, the unpredictable weather was an extra obstacle in addition to having to deal with masks and socially distanced positions.
“Playing my instrument under a mask and a face shield was hard,” sophomore Wind Symphony flutist Christy Han said. “It took time before I could produce decent sound quality. It was very windy and cold because we rehearsed outside, so it was hard to focus purely on music. I thought that the sound would be all over the place and that it would get dampened by the wind.”
During one rehearsal for the impressionistic work “Of Glorious Plumage” by Richard Meyer, Instrumental Music Director Ben Case felt encouraged by the sight of the spring season bringing new growth and fresh hope.
“We’ve recently started rehearsing the orchestra on stage, and we keep the back gate of the theater open as we play,” Case said. “The other day, as we were working on the piece, the sound of bird songs filled the hall. I looked up and saw the hillside framed by the door. There are two trees on the hill that are both singed from the fire on one side, but on the other side those same trees were filled with new growth and were surrounded by grass and wildflowers. Definitely a hopeful sight.”
From the distanced rehearsals to the virtual performance, the whole process was very different from in-person concerts.
“There wasn’t a live audience, and we were wearing masks,” senior Philharmonic Orchestra violinist Mengshu Zhang said. “But the musical intensity: That was definitely real.”