Changes in the Performing Arts

Saugus+High+School+Theater+performing+their+2019+spring+musical+Mamma+Mia.

Courtesy of Saugus High School Website

Saugus High School Theater performing their 2019 spring musical Mamma Mia.

Alice Mancilla, The Scroll, Staff Writer

COVID-19 has drastically changed our lives, including our education. Many programs are taking the initiative to adapt to school closures. Saugus band, choir, and theater are canceling events and activities due to online school. Multiple situations have been thrown at the staff and students of these programs and they are doing an amazing job at persevering through school closures.

The theater program has to adapt to technology and its glitches. Members of the theater explain that many times throughout a theater meeting, classmates and teachers cannot hear or understand each other. This can be especially challenging for a person with a poor internet connection. 

Also, relationships within the theater are harder to have and maintain because school is online. On the other hand, the theater teacher Mrs. Painter is making this program as enjoyable and uplifting as possible. Making and maintaining relationships is very difficult while staying at home. Isabella Eng, a senior and participant of Saugus theater states,  “Saugus theater is finding new ways to make these connections and build friendships that would usually be a built-in person.” Students can discover and create new ways to continue and sustain relationships through distance learning. Although the tremendous amount of difficulties with online learning, the theater is still an amazing program worth joining. 

The choir program is also facing multiple challenges online. Like the theater program, choir members have faced difficulties with technology. With a program that is dependent on listening to others and giving feedback, the choir has to fight with bad internet and glitching classes. Delayed sound and glitches are having an effect on the way the choir sounds and interprets their pieces. The voices of those that would harmonize beautifully together are now being disrupted by glitches.

 Still, choir students and staff are making the best of this online platform and creating exciting activities that make the class a great experience. Freshman and member of the choir group, Sydney Tran, explains, “I like playing different games with my choir[…] because it just lightens the mood. I love seeing the great relationships between the choir teacher and the students.” Even though classes are online, students can make the best of it by enjoying their time together. 

The Saugus band is also making new modifications due to school closures. Like choir and theater, the Saugus band is also canceling events due to COVID-19. The marching season is now canceled, along with football games, competitions, and concerts. Even though these events are canceled, the band is training for their new virtual show called “Arcade.” The band will be putting together music from video games such as Skyrim, Pokemon, and Kingdom Hearts. One of the major challenges that the band is facing is the social impact of school closures. 

Band director, Corey Whitt explains, “I think that music has a particular disadvantage, because it is such a social undertaking. Music-making was never meant to be an isolated process, but instead shared with others in the same room.” To preserve relationships in the midst of social distancing, the band is taking time to talk and communicate with one another. Multiple activities are being constructed to make the band a more social and communal group.

Students and staff who are already in the band program are doing the best that they can to make a welcoming environment for the new members of the Saugus band. During online band meetings, breakout rooms are used for the freshman to be able to talk and communicate with others who play the same instrument. Playing music in an online format that comes with other challenges. For example, students have to practice and learn new concepts and pieces of music separate from the time given in class. 

Julius Castillo, a senior and drum major in the Saugus band explains,” We also spend a lot of time focusing on other fundamentals as well (tone quality, articulation, posture, technique, etc). In addition, we also emphasize our sight-reading which is similar to the rhythm exercises in the sense that we’re given a small melodic piece and limited time to figure out how to play it.” Students can still focus on the music and learn new things while the band is meeting online. 

School and learning have changed for all students due to COVID-19. Saugus students and staff in these programs are persevering through unprecedented times. Although this experience is difficult, the performing arts programs are still looking forward to the school year.