Instrumentalists manage health and hazard in rehearsals
As campus returns to a new and improved sense of normal after a previous year, instrumental ensembles are back up and running at a semi-normal pace.
“I am loving being able to get ready for concerts and having normal rehearsals. It is very tiring for most of us since we haven't played for one year and a half, but we are getting better,” Angelika Donaldson, sophomore from Highland, Ill, said.
Last school year, instrumental ensembles made a few recordings of some performances to potentially share with the community, but the location of said recordings is unknown at this point.
“We did not have any concerts last year. We did do recordings but I do not know where those recordings are,” Donaldson said.
Students who became accustomed to shorter practice times (or no practice at all) and next to no performances have found themselves a little out of shape for the fall semester in full swing.
“After a summer of never touching or thinking about my instrument, it was a bit tough to get back into the flow of things, but as it goes with practice, I'm getting marginally better at faking it through rehearsals,” Chris Strecker, junior from Goessel, said.
“It is hard trying to get through two-hour rehearsals but we are making it work. Joel gives us a five-ten minute break in the middle of rehearsals to help us keep going,” Donaldson said.
Like many of the athletic opportunities on campus, instrumental ensembles have to condition themselves for performances.
“We don't really do warm-ups together. We warm up on our own and tune together before starting to play,” Donaldson said.
“The ways I ‘condition’ for jazz are usually by taking a nap beforehand and hoping that all goes well. It feels pretty great to be practicing in the instrumental ensembles again, but I couldn't really say the same thing for my colleagues. For example, my friend and lover, Trae Goering, has claimed that after rehearsing the same song for an hour-and-a-half, his arms and legs were tingling,” Strecker said.
Generally, however, the environment for instrumental ensembles remains safe.
“Everyone has playing masks and Joel has become more creative as he has bought the brass players puppy pads to use for their spit,” Donaldson said.
“My greatest worry in the sense of physical hazards in the rehearsal space is that Trae might pass out and drop his tuba, and that I might be impaled by shrapnel. Of course there's also the biohazard that is the spit puddles from the various brass instruments,” Strecker said.
So far in the year, the Orchestra has performed once, on September 28, and the Jazz Ensemble performed at Taste of Newton on September 30 and at Fall Fest on October 2. The Wind Ensemble is looking forward to their October 6 concert.
And for those who are wondering, Joel Boettger, director of ensembles, is still drinking quite a bit of coffee in order to manage his respective ensembles and classes.
“It’s less than last semester but I'm sure he is drinking more than the normal person is,” Boettger said.