CCP Music Re-Tunes Winter Concert Series



A college student wears a custom-designed mask during rehearsal at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana. (Chris Bergin for KHN)

Tom Smith, Arts Editor

Every year, the Chaminade Music Department puts on two concerts during December: the Jazz Concert and the Christmas Wind Ensemble Concert. Obviously, this year’s concerts are going to be a little unusual to keep everyone safe from the virus.

While the upcoming concerts have had to change, it’s important to recognize that this is not the first time the band department has had to make some adjustments this year. As musicians can’t easily play wind instruments while wearing masks, we have to take them off to play. This creates a health hazard, especially while we are all playing in the same room.  Many of the band classes this year have taken place on the stage in the Skip. The large stage enables us to space out and minimize close contact; but that isn’t quite enough to keep us all safe. Thus, the band directors have implemented the additional requirement of “bell covers” to be put on our instruments any time we are playing. These cloth and elastic covers stretch over the bell, or the flared part on the end of wind instruments, and essentially serve as masks for the instruments. In theory, they prevent particles and large molecules from traveling through and out of the instrument, which would be a hazard. The band department and leadership has had to be flexible in many small ways to keep the bands running smoothly and playing their best. In this sense, they have fully embodied the spirit of Adaptation and Change, one of the Characteristics of Marianist Education.

The upcoming band concerts themselves are a key example of how the band department has had to adjust during this school year. Unfortunately, there will be no live audiences for either of the concerts.  The Jazz Concert will be live streamed, and the Christmas Concert will be video recorded. With the large number of students in the Band Programs, the directors decided that it was for the best to minimize the number of total people in the Skip. Thus, the only people who will be allowed in the theater during the performances are the musicians, directors, and some Skip crew.

The Jazz Concert will be live streamed on Wednesday, December 9th, 7:30 PM. It will be viewable on YouTube soon after it is performed live. This concert will consist of performances by all the Jazz Groups; including the Middle School Jazz Band, Jazz Combo I, Jazz Combo II, the Contemporary Music Group, Men’s Chorus and the Jazz Ensemble. The program is expected to end at around 8:45 PM.

A video link of the Christmas Concert will be sent to each band family and anyone who requests it during the week of December 14th. The Christmas Concert will be video recorded during the band classes on December 10th and 11th and then edited together and published online soon afterwards. The performances during this concert includes the Beginning Band, Intermediate Band, the Wind Ensemble and the High School Percussion Ensemble.

Finally, the annual Holiday Cheer Ensemble, where band students volunteer to perform Christmas songs at various nursing homes and senior living centers in the area, will also not be taking place in-person for the safety of the vulnerable and infirm and for that of our Chaminade musicians themselves. The Ensemble will be recorded during the last regular class periods of the year by the Intermediate Band, Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble. A video of these performances will be distributed to nursing homes and senior living residences will be recorded on Monday, December 14th, during Wind Ensemble class.

From the locations of classes, to new equipment, to the medium of concerts, the band directors and other Chaminade faculty have really stepped up to keep our school safe. Though this year might be a little unusual, the Chaminade Band Department has come together and carefully thought out solutions to problems, wherever they pop up.