KO’s ensembles return to the stage

Arts

After over a year of not being able to perform for an audience, KO’s performing arts are returning to the stage! Since January of 2020, KO’s band, choir, and orchestra have been unable to perform. They have been rehearsing both remotely and in person, but have been mainly focusing on building skills and refining techniques. However, the Pandemic Response Team recently approved the request to have an outdoor concert in May. The tentative groups performing are concert band, jazz band, Upper and Middle School orchestra, Voce, Outlook, both a cappella groups, and a performance from a group of theater students.

It was only around February when an in-person concert started to look like a realistic option. So far, the plan is to have four stages set up around the senior green, all facing the center where the audience will be seated. The number of audience members who will be able to attend are fairly limited, most likely two people per student. Plans are constantly changing to reflect the COVID-19 guidelines the state has put in place. 

Students and staff are looking forward to the concert. “I think I can speak for myself and a lot of other people when I say I have felt a hole in my heart because of not being able to perform,” Performing Arts Department Chair Todd Millen said. “I am extremely grateful to teach at a school where we are still able to share a little bit of music with other people in a safe way.”

There is a lot of work that goes into a concert, especially considering that the stages have to be large enough to fit entire ensembles, and each ensemble requires a different sound set-up. To ensure safety of all the performers, each group will also rotate on and off the stages in order to clear the air around the performing spaces. There will be two larger stages that will be used for the band, orchestra, and choral groups with the smaller stages being used for the theater performances and the smaller group performances. 

Performing arts classes are now at the stage where they are selecting repertoire to perfect. “It might not be as polished as it would normally be for a concert, but our priority is just having something to perform that we can have fun with,” Outlook and Crimson 7 Director David Baker said. Similarly, the students are also thrilled to be able to finally perform. “We have been having a lot of fun learning new pieces this year and I am so excited to finally be able to sing in front of an audience instead of just for a recording,” senior Mary Kaliszweski said.

Even though this year was tough for the performing arts community, Mr. Millen is considering the possibility of making outdoor concerts happen somewhat more regularly. Despite the number of changes that have been made, ultimately the fact that students have been able to make music together has been very important in building community. “I am just ecstatic that we finally will have an opportunity to share our students’ talents with the community,” Mr. Millen said.