NSCE is working hard to adapt to the unique challenges COVID presents for performing arts groups and all of us. While making music together and performing in person have always been the group’s raison d’etre, our instructors have excelled at creating fun and engaging online learning environments and opportunities for social interaction for the youth we serve during this critical time. We are looking forward to a 2021-22 season when we can, hopefully, mostly meet in person.
COVID Safety Protocols:
We’re proud to be continuing safe in-person rehearsals AND performances this year, guided by evidence-based COVID safety protocols including:
- Mandatory mask wearing indoors
- Frequent hand washing and sanitizing
- Ample space for physical distancing
- Venues with good ventilation
- Rigorous attendance tracking
The NSCE takes seriously our responsibility to do our utmost to protect all our musicians. Our Covid protocols include mandatory masks indoors and implementation of physical distancing whenever possible in all of our activities, for all ensembles. Our rehearsal spaces are large and well ventilated with lots of hand sanitizer available. All of our musical directors are fully vaccinated. We will also require that all other adults (e.g. session musicians, parent chaperones, etc.) having significant contact with youth be fully vaccinated.
Our strong recommendation is for every musician over 12 years old to get fully vaccinated and some of our community concerts at seniors homes etc will require it. However, 20% of NSCE's musicians are under the age of 12 and thus not eligible for vaccination. (This includes a small subset of musicians in the Junior and Senior ensembles.) The Covid protocols described above, which we can confidently apply during our rehearsals, will help to make our ensembles safe and accessible to all, regardless of vaccination status.
In the spring of 2020, our instructors rapidly adapted to an online learning format, proving that they know what it takes to create opportunities for small group playing, practicing and sharing new arrangements, collaborating through online performances, and keeping youth interested and engaged.
One of the surprising benefits of COVID has been having increased access to highly skilled and accomplished teachers and tutorials online. One example of this is the free tutorials offered by one of NSCE’s Musical Directors, Gabriel Dubreuil. (Gabe’s tutorials on YouTube)
Collaborations and Partnerships
NSCE has always valued connecting people of all ages and cultures through music. Historically, we have frequently performed in seniors’ residences and other local public venues. Sadly, in our 2020-21 season, these live performances were not possible. While we were permitted to perform outside, we offered small outdoor concerts for seniors’ homes at which residents could view and listen to the musicians at a safe distance.
We also undertook our UPLIFT series, multigenerational collaborations with seniors’ residences that celebrate the spirit and resilience of our community’s seniors and youth. These unique musical offerings included prerecorded stories, songs and music performed by seniors, and musical contributions by NSCE youth. Uplift concerts offered a unique, inspiring collage of music and connection in the form of streamed events for the NSCE community, local business partners, seniors’ residences, and the involved seniors and their families.