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    • From left to right: Ava Cho ’22, Joanna Lu ’22, and Brandon Faunce ’22 performing at an all-school Assembly.

    • Concert Choir practices socially distanced in 2020.

Hopkins Rejoices Over the Return to Live Musical Performances

Megan Davis ’23 Features Editor
For the past eighteen months, the Covid-19 pandemic forced Hopkins musicians to figure out how to maintain their skills and their love for performing when gathering in large groups was prohibited. As the school loosens its Covid-related safety measures, it is also introducing the return of in-person concerts.
As co-head of the Spirens a cappella group, Anjali Subramanian ’22 especially misses “Hopkins traditions like Pumpkin Bowl, 5 Golden Rings, and the CT Food Bank Fundraiser. We always dress up in Halloween costumes related to the song we’re performing for Pumpkin Bowl. For 5 Golden Rings, we wear holiday onesies. I like those performances a lot because of all the excitement around them.” Subramanian’s co-head Erin Low ’22 agrees that in-person performances are full of unique energy and excitement. She feels that “look[ing] over at everyone else [in the group] and catch[ing] someone’s eye in the middle of the song [is something that] makes [performing] a lot more fun and brings a whole different energy.”

Subramanian reflects on the difficulties last year brought when attempting to continue practicing: “All of our performances were virtual except for Spam Jam at the end of the year, and so we had to put together a video and voice recording for each song we learned. This was very tough because we had never done this before the pandemic, so there was kind of a learning curve.” With Zoom audio feedback and poor connection issues, “practices are so difficult because you can not listen to each other, which is a huge part of singing. It’s really hard to tell if you’re singing your part correctly and if everyone in the group is comfortable with their part.”

Concert Band member Amy Metrick ‘23 explains, “During the pandemic, we shifted away from preparing pieces as a group for performance because we did not know when we would be able to perform again, and moved toward individual or small group recording and arranging projects that helped me gain a new perspective on music.” However, the experience came with many difficulties: “The in-person cohort would work on group pieces in class and the virtual cohort would either play along on mute [on Zoom] or have group projects to work on in breakout rooms.”

Art Department Chair Robert Smith always loves the culmination of a performance during his work at Hopkins. As Covid-19 cases slow and vaccination rates rise, Smith is “looking forward to having that [performance] experience happen in real-time. There is something supremely valuable in knowing that you only have one opportunity to perform and do your best.” Smith continues, “the only way to truly get better at one’s craft is to do it. For musicians, live performance is the pinnacle of our craft.” Metrick emphasizes, “We really missed the opportunity to listen around and be part of a larger group when we played. We were able to focus last year on improving our [own] playing, and I’m excited to bring that to the full group setting and be a part of something bigger again.”

An overwhelming sense of camaraderie and support keeps the music program at Hopkins strong. Treble Choir member Julia Murphy ’23 loves the “sense of family that we form during rehearsals, and performance is the culmination of hard work and dedication. It’s amazing being able to present the art we’ve worked on.” Ava Cho ’22, who played violin at Assembly on the first day of school, finds joy in the close bonds that Orchestra members form. She says, “I look forward to connecting with the whole orchestra again. With our orchestra whole again, we [will be] able to do more concerts and challenging pieces as well.”

Despite past difficulties, the Arts Department believes the performance culture at Hopkins has a bright future ahead. Smith encourages the community to come and support the hard work of the students on campus this year. He shares that “there is a Halloween Concert coming up on the evening of October 29th, and the gears are quickly turning on how we’re going to make this [concert] a festive and memorable one!”
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Melody Cui

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The Razor's Edge reflects the opinion of 4/5 of the editorial board and will not be signed. The Razor welcomes letters to the editor but reserves the right to decide which letters to publish, and to edit letters for space reasons. Unsigned letters will not be published, but names may be withheld on request. Letters are subject to the same libel laws as articles. The views expressed in letters are not necessarily those of the editorial board.
     
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