The Future of Choir and Band Events

With social distancing procedures and other safety precautions in effect, our school is still deciding on what to do with future events such as concerts.


Kathy Somers

The 2019 freshman show choir performs on stage. The days of performing in close groups have been put on hold due to the pandemic.

Ariel Clark, Editor

Various events have been postponed or canceled for fine arts classes such as band and choir due to the implementation of safety procedures such as social distancing and masks.  

While no future plans are set in stone, events such as the Fireman’s Parade had already been canceled due to the Coronavirus. Currently, the Fine Arts directors are implementing various methods in order to try and maximize safety and also allow the events the potential to take place. From using the auditorium as a classroom to getting bell covers and flute shields, they’re doing everything they can to help protect students who want to attend in-person events and practices. The Iowa Music Association offers masks and instrument covers ideas for fine arts students to use.

The Clarinda Band Jamboree, one of the larger band competitions our school competes in, was supposed to be held on Oct. 3, but has since been canceled. Still marching on, the Band also planned to prepare for the Homecoming Parade on Oct. 9. But it has since been canceled as well. Other events, primarily for Concert Band, have yet to be decided. “Once we start getting into Concert Band season I’ll meet with Mrs. Mckay and Mr. Mitchell,” said band director Jarrod O’Donnell. O’Donnell does not plan to make concrete plans until the season starts, as the rules are changing every day. “My hope is that it’s gonna be like normal.” 

Competitions such as All-State have been changed to adhere to the new guidelines as well. “We’re still doing All-state auditions,” said O’Donnell. The auditions are to be recorded instead of done in person. As of Sept. 11, the competition is still expected to be held, “but that could change at any time.”

In order to continue keeping the band in working order, O’Donnell ordered bell covers and flute shields in order to maximize safety and sanitation. “It’s definitely a new experience.” The bell covers are 2-ply nylon covers that go over every instrument (excluding flutes) and collect the aerosol emitted. It’s cleaned once a week. Flutes, on the other hand, have a plastic shield that helps to limit aerosol dispersal. “We’re following what they say so we can all stay here as long as we can,” O’Donnell said.

The first show choir competition of the season at DCG, scheduled for late January of 2021, has already been canceled. Other performances have yet to be decided on what course of action will be taken. Choir director Ethan Pruisman said, “I feel like we can figure something out so we can have a concert of some sort.” Pruisman has been consulting with other choir teachers and researching various mitigation strategies to try and decide what course of action will be best. 

Some of the ideas include finding an outside venue, live streaming it to everyone from the auditorium, and using the gymnasium. These options all have different downfalls, such as the gym being unavailable for practice due to P.E. class, the transportation needs to reach an outside venue, etc, but Pruisman is determined to try and find a way to allow students to still perform their concerts. 

Junior Jaci Smith, a flute player, believes that the band is doing everything they can to maintain CDC guidelines. “The only thing I see as a downfall with the flute shields is they aren’t very secure,” said Smith. She says that they constantly fall down while playing, causing inconvenience. However, she believes “the only other solution would have been a plastic bag over our flute.” Smith said she’s “nervous to see how concerts go because if we can’t be on stage, playing in a gym takes a lot more practice.” Worry about the Florida trip being canceled, like last year, is also on her mind.  

Choir student Genevieve Martinez, senior, believes that choir concerts will resume as normal with slight restrictions. “I wish that we could mandate masks and have strict regulations. However, under jurisdiction of Kim Reynolds we can only do so much,” said Martinez. Her thoughts on mandating masks also spread to the hallways, where students are constantly “shoulder-bumping with people.” “I”m grateful that they are trying to implement the basic precautions at the least,” said Martinez. She worries about what will happen when the choir is assigned their own binders (which are often shared if there aren’t enough music sheets.) Martinez said, “We’re all using our binders, so having to share that material could be sketchy.” 

Another concern she has comes from the soft material that makes up the auditorium seats (inability to effectively clean soft furniture led to couches and comfy chairs being thrown out of the library and other rooms already.) Still, Martinez believes that the choir is doing its best to try and protect its members while still remaining in legal confines.