The ANS Concert Band is dedicated to playing music together, even amidst the indefinite quarantine resulting from the spread of COVID-19. The band, lead by Mr. Spiro, is finding new and innovative ways to maintain the same quality of work as before, while following the necessary physical distancing measures.
It’s safe to say that it has been difficult for everyone to adapt to this new situation (having to work from home and being uncertain of when things will go back to normality, it’s become commonplace for people to feel discouraged or to lose their motivation to continue), and the band members have not been exempt from this feeling.
”It saddens me to know that band practices are not the same,” says Fátima Martínez, the saxophonist and flutist of the band. ”Their purpose—to bring joy to others through music—is even more difficult during lockdown.”
Fátima’s sentiment is shared among all the members of the band, but in a way, it serves as its own kind of motivation. The bittersweet longing for things to be as they were, and to ”bring joy to others through music,” has led the musicians to work even harder than they have before, to make up for all that was lost along with the ability to meet in person.
In an effort to continue playing together while far apart, the band has implemented new resources into their class routine. As with all other ANS classes, they are currently meeting through Zoom, a software platform used for video communication. But in contrast to other classes, this platform alone is not enough to accommodate the interaction that is necessary for the Concert Band class to function. The students need to play music together, which is something difficult to achieve when working entirely online, at least using the usual means.
To replace the aspect of live performance—of every student playing together at the same time—the band has begun using a platform called BandLab. BandLab allows the students to record their parts individually, and then share them and combine them with the rest of the students’ work, resulting in a high quality recorded song.
The student musicians all share similar opinions regarding the use of BandLab to play music together.
”Even in difficult times, we are finding ways to express our passion,” says Fátima.
”Although we can’t play together physically, and we are instead learning things individually, we are still united,” adds Valeria Alfaro, the clarinetist and drummer of the band.
Carlos Hondoy, who plays saxophone and trumpet, says: ”Working with BandLab has definitely made things easier, but it is not the same as being in school.”
The band members are all grateful for and enthusiastic about the fact that they are still working, in a sense, together, despite the unfortunate circumstances. But they are all looking forward to the day they will be able to enter their band room in person, and perform on stage for an audience again.
”No one expected this new situation, and to be sincere, it takes time to get used to,” adds Carlos. ”But I am optimistic; there is always light at the end of the tunnel.”