Music program marches on


Emma Malinak

The Trinity High School String Orchestra was excited to practice as a full ensemble for the first time this school year. The stage provides plenty of room so that each musician can be socially distanced!

As students and teachers continue to adjust to the 2020-2021 school year, everyone has had to cope with changes and adjustments to their daily schedule and learning process. Trinity’s music department is no exception, as they are now following COVID-19 safety precautions and exploring new methods of learning in order to keep student musicians protected.

Trinity High School’s music department is currently following all of the guidelines and suggestions from the International Coalition Performing Arts Aerosol Study, which was conducted through the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Most of the precautions being taken are similar to those in standard classrooms, such as social distancing and wearing a mask, while others require special steps to accommodate musicians. For example, choir students must wear specifically designed choir masks and members in both concert band and marching band must use bell covers to limit the spread of aerosols. However, in music classes such as orchestra, guitar and piano, musicians do not produce sound by means of using their breath; so, as long as they are wearing masks and not sharing equipment, they are safe just as in any other Trinity classroom. 

To summarize the dedication of the music department during these challenging times, Mr. Hilty stated, “I do believe that we are taking every precaution to maintain student safety while maintaining the quality of the department.”

Regardless, these extra precautions, along with the obstacles that have been presented with cyber and hybrid schedules, have changed the experience of taking music classes and participating in musical ensembles. 

Elle Rush, Trinity senior who is heavily involved in the music department as the Drum Major of the marching band, a member of the Chamber Choir, and a bass player in the Orchestra, shared her thoughts on this year’s music classes: “The hardest part is not being able to play and sing with all of our members…this takes a big toll on our performance and how we learn in the class.” 

Rush thinks that during the time that the school was following the hybrid schedule, the only students that seemed to benefit from musical instruction were the students in school that day. She is also concerned that students are missing out on certain experiences, such as marching band competitions and concerts, due to pandemic regulations. 

However, Hilty thinks that these developments are not setbacks, but instead are benefits to the music department as classes can now focus on music theory, fundamental techniques, and musicianship, without having to worry about specific repertoire for concerts and competitions.

“We are able to give ample time for these important building blocks, which will only benefit the musicians in the long run,” Hilty commented on the music department’s change in focus. 

Now, as the school has moved to a 4-day-a-week schedule, safety remains a top priority. The stage is set up to accommodate musicians in various ensembles so that social distancing is still possible. 

Despite the adjustments to regulations, changes in focus, and uncertain plans for future concerts, the comradery of the music department has stayed the same; Rush reflected, saying, “The people involved in any type of music class are definitely family… that has helped us stay positive throughout this whole situation. Everyone has been so amazing at maintaining the new changes, and they do not stop us from creating awesome music!”

Music students from across the department would like to say “thank you” to Mr. Hilty, Mr. Conkle and Mr. Komula for working so hard to keep the music department thriving despite the current circumstances. Trinity’s musicians are grateful to be able to keep the spirit of music alive in the school!