Perhaps even more than in the realm of athletics, performing music publicly has taken a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. For many music programs around the country—whether at the high school, collegiate, or professional level—an ominous fermata seems to loom over their forced break from in-person performances and rehearsals. Nevertheless, as the leaves begin to fall, the harmonies continue to rise on the campus of The Heights School.
At The Heights, both the Men’s Chorus and Wind Ensemble continue to rehearse every day under one of the large, outdoor tents. What was once an outdoor basketball court has been transformed into an outdoor rehearsal hall. In keeping with CDC guidelines, the band has ordered specialized masks and bell covers with merv-13 filters. After months of solo practice, the boys are grateful to be back, singing and playing music together. As music teacher Mr. Pat Love puts it, “Having rehearsal reminds me that we are bound together by our communal expression, especially in difficult times.” Online programs like SmartMusic have been helpful tools for independent practice, but nothing replaces a rehearsal in real time.
In a particularly literal way, the boys are learning the truth that an ensemble’s performance is a reflection of its rehearsals, for every rehearsal is itself a performance for all of campus. Moreover, as the admissions office begins welcoming visiting families for open houses, the concert halls of campus are extending beyond the current Heights community. And lest one think the daily rehearsals are all that is in store for these student performers, the music department remains hopeful about hosting outdoor concerts in the spring and producing a recording of this year’s particularly talented Wind Ensemble.
The music program’s daily “campus concerts” have helped to make The Heights feel even more alive this fall. As we travel along an uncharted path during this school year, the lyrics of our school song ring true: to The Heights we go together, singing on the way, boys!