arts   |   coronavirus

IU musical instruction, rehearsals, performances paused due to COVID-19 response



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Practices and performances for Jacobs School of Music students have been canceled during the two weeks IU will move classes online. Gracie Farrall

The show, for now, will not go on.

IU students in performing arts know the show must always go on. But for the two weeks after spring break as classes move online and instruction, rehearsals and performances are canceled, the definitive saying — for once — will not be true.

Gwyn Richards, the David Henry Jacobs Bicentennial Dean, said more information about rescheduling is to come in an email sent at 3:15 p.m. on March 12 to Jacobs faculty, staff and students.

“We are working diligently to find solutions for rescheduling degree recitals, ensemble rehearsals and performances and the major productions scheduled in the Musical Arts Center,” Richards wrote. 

Savanna Webber, a first-year master’s student at Jacobs studying voice, said she wonders what will happen to her lessons, studio classes and auditions for fall productions.

“I'm nervous about what the rest of the semester is going to look like,” Webber said.

In Jacobs, students must perform in a senior recital to graduate. All recitals scheduled between March 14 and April 5 have been canceled or postponed, according to an email sent on behalf of the Jacobs Deans Offices.

Sara Dailey, a senior studying voice performance, scheduled her recital for the end of April, so it won’t be affected unless the suspension dates are extended. However, she said online instruction cannot replace in-person musical instruction, especially for her acting class and opera workshop.

“The majority of my classwork this semester, it cannot be done online,” Dailey said. “We’re all kind of scrambling.”

She had two other performances on March 27 and April 5 that were both canceled. 

Dailey also works as an electrician at the Musical Arts Center, where she said she earns most of her income. The original dates for the spring ballet, "Cinderella," and "Jacobs Live at the Movies," where a live orchestra would play music to a movie shown onscreen, have been canceled. She would have worked on both of these productions.

“Me and my coworkers have no idea if we’ll be able to keep working,” Dailey said. “It’s very, very upsetting.”

Dailey learned Friday that her job is shut down until April 6. There is no compensation for hourly employees out of work during the suspension.

For a music student, spending two weeks learning and rehearsing online means missing out on hours of instruction, rehearsal and performances. Even if graduating students can finish their degrees, they may feel unprepared beginning their next year, Dailey said. 

“You can’t replace in-person musical instruction with online musical instruction,” Dailey said. “It just doesn’t work.”

Gabriel Jimbo Viteri, a senior studying cello performance, has his recital scheduled for April 12. The current suspension dates won’t affect it. 

“For me, that was priority number one,” Jimbo Viteri said. 

Rehearsals and performances through the Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance will also be suspended from March 14 to April 5, according to an announcement made Wednesday.

Senior Megan Kudla said she received an email notification yesterday regarding canceled events. She will not travel to the American College Dance Association regional dance conference in Kentucky due to IU's restrictions on university-sponsored travel.

"There's a lot of confusion in general in the public," Kudla said. "But in the dance community, it obviously has a lot of repercussions because we use our body every day."

The Contemporary Dance department has a senior showcase, New Moves, scheduled May 1-2. 

"Hopefully we can come back and put a show together,” senior Kelsey Smock said. "But it all depends on what happens with the suspension."

Smock said she was preparing to go to the American College Dance Association as well.

"Mostly I was surprised at first, then angry a little bit because I'm a senior and not getting that full experience like I had planned,” Smock said. “A lot of things don't work out the way you think they are going to most of the time.”

Smock said she has accepted the situation and thought of it as a challenge.

Kudla said dancers have to be flexible and adaptive people. She said this isn't the last chance for dancers to showcase their work.

"I think we have to find those moments of opportunity and those moments of looking towards the future in order to not let it get too sad for us," Kudla said.

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