While schools are returning to some semblance of normalcy this fall, many traditional CHS activities are still left to wonder how exactly proceed.
Events such as choir performances, school plays, and band shows have had to be reworked, reimagined, and reassessed in order to keep students and faculty safe throughout the entire process.
“We definitely had a much more advanced level and elaborate show planned for our band performance this year, but we had to change our program to fit the new COVID reality,” said CHS Director of Music and the Marching Ram Band John Kuhner. “But we are ready to go in small groups and we are maintaining all appropriate distances.”
For Kuhner and the CHS Ram Band, rehearsal is looking a lot different than usual.
“Some instruments need to keep an extended distance,” Kuhner explained. “For the wind players, they need to keep a 12-foot by 12-foot distance to be safe, and honestly that distance feels safe [to me], too.”
The Marching Band, according to Kuhner, will be able to continue as long as students keep 6-foot by 9-foot distance from one another.
These increased social distancing measures are utilized in order to keep students and faculty safe from potential COVID-19 particles that could be projected through the instruments. Similar precautions must be taken for choir practices as well.
”All choir students have to be masked and, again, they do a lot of their rehearsals in smaller groups as well,” Kuhner said.
For theater, CHS English teacher and Spring Musical Director Dawn DeMeo will be taking a page out of Kuhner’s book when it comes to smaller groups and more-focused rehearsals.
“I am currently considering a much smaller cast and less ensemble characters in order to manage spacing and any in-person rehearsals,” said DeMeo. “I also need to consider the talent that I have and what might suit their personalities, strengths and weaknesses. Clearly, we also have to be aware of what the community needs and wants right now as well.”
As of now, there are still no concrete plans for the spring musical, although DeMeo says she is still planning on holding auditions in December as long as the state continues to open up.
The traditional fall production, which is typically directed by CHS Drama and Literature teacher Taryn Chorney, also remains in limbo.
According to Kuhner, the biggest benefit of the current setup is that, if cases of COVID-19 surge again, the rehearsals can be shifted online almost immediately.
“We can go all remote if it’s necessary, which is important. We have a flexible format and it’s able to be constantly reworked to accommodate whatever happens,” Kuhner said.