David Donoghue '21
Until March 6th, Covid-19 was a geographically distant worry with no imminent effects. Little did I expect that the Sidwell “AC in DC” acapella concert would be canceled before D.C recorded its first positive case. Yet it was. From there, there was a slew of cancelations regarding the arts on the Close. First, One Acts were virtual, quickly followed by performances at Flower Mart, the Spring Concert, Cum Laude service, and finally, the bookend performance at graduation.
After the demoralizing loss of those performances and looming possibility that the 20-21 school year would bring more GarageBand recordings and Zoom acting, the joint STA and NCS arts leadership had some thinking to do. Over the summer, I met more than a few times with Eleanor Czajkowski and Mr. Straub on the Chorale end and Eleanor Boomhower, Nico Cantrell, Isabel Hohenlohe, and the theatre faculty on the Thespian Society end. These meetings featured more speculation than planning, but left me with one conclusion:
We should get used to virtual arts since it’s all we’ll have for the next year.
Although it’s not how I’d like my Senior year to go, I found some comfort in that certainty; it meant I could turn my attention towards making the most of these unfortunate circumstances.
Now, how do we make the most of them? I don’t have a catch-all solution, but what I’d say to anybody who is wary of singing into their phone rather than their folder or acting in front of a camera instead of an audience. Embrace that it’s weird, and maybe even embrace that there’s less pressure since you’re doing it alone. If you’ve struggled with stage fright, there’s no stage anymore so that should help. Additionally, we all have more time, so use it! If there’s something you wanted to do before last March but had sports or personal conflicts, see if you now have freed-up space in your schedule—trying new things is now less taxing than ever.
As for the arts that aren’t run by teachers, they’re doing quite alright as well. On the A Cappella side, all 3 groups (Jackets Off, Close Encounters, and Sarsaparilla) have held successful auditions, and, while I can’t speak for the other two, Jackets Off has some exciting plans for the year. In terms of Open Mics, it’d be hard to have fewer than last year (0), so we can only go uphill. I’m sure we will.
At the end of the day, this isn‘t ideal, but nothing is. All we can do is make good with a bad situation, which we’re all smart enough to do. Try new things with your new time, follow @jacketsoff on Instagram, and you’ll be setting yourself up for as good a year as possible.