The Jazzuits Persevere Through the Pandemic

Cindy Zych, Staff Writer

The Coronavirus Pandemic has affected everyone differently, but it has hit the fine arts community particularly hard. Fine arts are all about rehearsing and performing, but both of those are impossible now.

Here at Le Moyne College, singers such as myself are eager to get back to doing what we love. However, what we love is now a health risk so we have had to adjust.

The Le Moyne College Jazzuits, under the direction of Carol Jacobe, have come up with a number of safe and creative ways to still make music together while apart. After finishing last semester on Zoom, we knew there was no way to learn new songs that way because of the time lag and there is no way to gather and rehearse due to COVID. This is where creativity comes in!

So far this semester we have used breakout rooms on Zoom to have sectionals with each voice part. There are about four students to a voice part and we had four amazing adults accompany each group to lead them and this definitely helped.

However, with an entire new song to learn, it was still difficult because you can’t sing at the same time as the piano or another person. We also had to download a music app called Soundtrap, but with that came another list of challenges.

The app is designed to let different people record separate tracks while listening to the same song play in the background and then when played back you can hear everyone sing at once. While this seems like a great idea, the app was quite challenging to use and frequently did not work properly.

Thankfully, the school has allowed us to resume regular rehearsals, which means we can be in person to watch our director as we sing and hear the piano and our peers.

Fellow Jazzuit, Nicholle Capria says, “Rehearsal isn’t the same as it was before with all the protocols, but we’ve made many improvements since March.”

Our hope is to record in person for our final song rather than on Soundtrap. Rehearsals have helped the group grow far past where we would have, had we not had the opportunity for in person.

I am very happy to be in person rehearsing but rehearsals look quite different now than they did in previous years. We rehearse in the chapel with masks, standing 12 feet apart. We have to take some precautions before rehearsal starts—we sanitize our hands and microphones, show our green Emocha badges, and go to our assigned seats.

We divide the group in half so that two voice parts are with Professor Jacobe at a time and then we alternate. When we are not with Professor Jacobe, we are broken up into sectionals with just our voice part and one of our peers who leads us for about 30 minutes to practice our music.

Then at the end of rehearsal we gather in the chapel with Professor Jacobe to run through the song and see how we are doing as a collective group.

Despite the challenges, Professor Jacobe is thrilled to be back in person, “I am very happy that we are now back together, spaced 12 feet apart, making wonderful music.”

Things are actually going so well that we will be recording the final version of the first song in the next few weeks and we have even started a second song.

Though it is different and has not been easy, we are all very happy to be singing together again even if it’s not quite the same.