Music has been a key component of the Christian schooling experience at SCS for many years. We have a strong tradition of operating “above our pay grade” in terms of program offerings and artistic quality in relation to the size of our school. While Mr. Phillips, Mrs. Riley, and I are thrilled to be back in school and teaching our students in person, we have had to come up with creative solutions to brand new problems never faced before in music education.
We are teaching ensembles with 6-foot social distancing to minimize the potential for contact tracing. We are learning to sing (and to teach singing) with face-masks. In band, we are asking students to empty their water valves outside and to put bell-covers on their instruments while playing. We are disinfecting commonly touched surfaces throughout the day and students are no longer sharing instruments. In elementary music, each student has been provided with an individual “music kit” for their own use in music class.
In terms of our facility modifications, we have added a new fresh air exchange system in the large music room. We have also removed the permanent built-in risers that have been part of our music room for many years. We now have a flat, hard floor that is much more conducive to the moving of equipment and much more flexible in terms of room-setup to allow for social distancing. We have also purchased a very handsome new set of custom-built “choir stools” which act as a kind of “individual choir riser” for each singer. These provide us a solution for setting up rehearsals in multiple spaces while maintaining social distancing, and they are also an elegant solution for the problem of concert set up.
Our team is currently working to determine the best course of action for presenting our music to you, our audience! We do not yet know if performances will be live, virtual, or some kind of combination of the two. We hope to create a method of presentation that will be rewarding for our musicians, satisfying to our audience, and glorifying to God.