How much has Covid-19 really impacted the BFA music program and the students taking it? Band Director Eric Bushey, Chorus and Chamber Choir director Armand Messier and sophomore band member Emma Haag have made it quite clear that a lot has changed since the global pandemic made its way to Vermont. One of the largest changes being masks.
Every student must wear a mask, but if you play an instrument you need to blow into it, which becomes quite difficult to play. That didn’t stop the BFA music department. According to Bushey, they now use fabric bell covers and slit masks to minimize the spread of germs as well as social distancing.
The band and chorus rooms may be large, but they’re definitely not large enough for everyone to stand six-10 feet apart, so Bushey and Messier came up with a solution. According to Bushey, band students rehearse outdoors, and the chamber choir students meet online.
“I think Mr. Bushey is doing an excellent job keeping us safe. He is adamant about making sure that everyone stays around six-feet apart. The measures that have been put into place seem to be working quite well,” said band student Emma Haag (‘23).
Bushey and Messier have been working hard to make sure their students are happy and healthy while also keeping the COVID-19 protective guidelines in place. Students seem to understand that they need to be flexible with these changes in order to keep the music department available.
When asked how the students are handling the changes, Bushey responded, “The BFA students have been simply amazing. Not every outdoor rehearsal has had ideal conditions. We’ve played in the wind, cold, and even rain. Not a single student has complained about this at any point. They are simply happy to be together making music. I think this past spring has given us all a different perspective on what it means to have something like group music-making taken away from us,” Bushey said.
Changes in the music department could be overwhelming at times, but Mr. Bushey seems to have it under control. “Having to wear the surgical mask while playing is a bit difficult as it is easy for reeds to get caught on it and break. Other than that, it has been relatively smooth sailing,” said Haag (‘23).