Orchestra Adapts to Health Restrictions

Villa Maria’s Fine Arts Department is finding new ways to practice and perform music in the era of Covid-19. Fine Arts Department Chair Dr. Anthony Mosakowski, Director of Music Leah Kim-Tomilson, and Director’s Assistant Sr. Dolores Margaret have taken a variety of steps to enable musicians to play together safely in person. Students are spaced apart on the stage, and separated by plastic screens. Musicians not playing wind instruments remain masked. Many students playing wind instruments are wearing special masks that cover their noses and as much of their mouths as possible, leaving only an opening for a musician to blow into a trumpet, for example. The wind instruments themselves also have covers to prevent them from expelling anything potentially harmful.

Ms. Leah notes that playing together even with restrictions is a much better experience than performing remotely. “When students are playing over Zoom, they cannot hear each other, and the conductor cannot hear the orchestra together as a unit. We are working very hard to stay safe so that we can continue to make and celebrate music together live.”

Villa Maria is also taking a different approach to performing their annual Christmas concert. The show will be on shown video because there cannot be a live audience, but rather than filming a single concert straight through, the musicians are preparing and then performing and filming a single piece at a time, before going on to practice and perform the next piece. This method limits the amount of time the orchestra is together on any given day.

Ms. Leah says she is happy to be able to have everyone performing together, even if the experience is not exactly the same as in the past. “The girls don’t get to experience the nervousness and the excitement that come from performing before a live audience, but at least we are being hopeful and creative together.”