Tabetha DeGroot – Staff Writer
Before most students left Dordt for Thanksgiving, multiple concerts filled the last days of the on-campus fall semester with music. The ensembles performed arrangements featuring a mix of classical and contemporary music. Both the audience members and musicians wore masks and attendance was limited by social-distancing guidelines.
“Just didn’t quite have that ‘boom’ that it usually does with a big group” Ryan Smit, director of Concert Choir, Choral, and Canons of Dordt, said.
However, both the audience and performers felt grateful for the opportunity to hear live music, as many concerts around the country have been cancelled over the past year.
Dordt’s music program put a lot of time and effort into ensuring that they could perform in some capacity this semester. Dordt arranged an alternate date for each concert before the confirmation came that the university would be going online for the last two weeks of the semester. Even so, with less rehearsal time and musicians constantly in and out of quarantine, preparation was difficult.
“We had several people who got out of quarantine either the day before or the day of the concert—which was scary” Smit said.
Colton Ott, a member of the Canons of Dordt, had not sung with the group since the October 29 when he walked onstage for the November 24 performance.
“The concert was interesting with such little practice, especially since I’m not particularly gifted when it comes to music” Ott said. He prepared as much as he could while in quarantine and felt “determined to enjoy performing.”
Due to members in quarantine or isolation, Dordt’s music groups had spotty attendance throughout the semester. Concert choir did not have the entire ensemble in one room together until the day of the concert and Choral still had one member in quarantine on the day of the performance.
Despite the obstacles encountered, Smit counted the concerts as successes. “I was really happy with the level of performance.” Smit said, “I think the choirs really rose to the challenge”
Many other colleges have limited musical performances to small sectionals, virtual concerts, or canceled events entirely. Dordt managed to have live concerts with audiences to celebrate the approaching holiday season.
“I promised myself that even if people couldn’t see my entire face, I’d be smiling through every concert this year,” Ott said, “and that was no different for this concert.”