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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The Battalion May 4, 2024

A&M Orchestra performs virtually

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Courtesy

Texas A&M Orchestra will perform virtually on Sunday, October 11.

Music allows individuals to feel a bit of normalcy in their lives, and that’s the Texas A&M Orchestra’s goal: to spread peace within our lives through music.
After months of preparation, the Texas A&M Orchestra will host their first virtual fall concert on Sunday, Oct. 11, beginning with Jazz Band 2 at 6 p.m., followed by Jazz Band 1, the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra.
Director of orchestras and associate director of bands Travis Almany said, like everything else this year, the orchestra has had to adapt to COVID-19 precautions. Typically, the ensembles would perform their fall concerts in Rudder Theatre, but social distancing requirements don’t allow that.
“What we’re doing in our new music activities center is there’s a room built for the Aggie Band, which is huge,” Almany said. “We can put the whole orchestras [or each of] the concert bands in that room and still be six feet apart plus have extra room.”
While preparing for a virtual performance, Almany said there are several differences between a virtual and live performance. Still, since they haven’t held a performance yet, they don’t know exactly what the differences will be.
“My suspicion is that for the students it won’t have quite the excitement a normal concert gives because there won’t be an audience there to play for and they won’t get the applause and the reaction and kind of the emotions and stuff you get from a live performance,” Almany said. “I think the advantage is going to be if something goes wrong. All we have to do is say ‘Stop, let’s do it again’ and we’ll have the ability to perfect it the best we can.”
The Texas A&M Orchestra and other music groups are able to rehearse and perform during these times because band leadership observed studies done by multiple universities over the summer where the research concluded the safest ways for students to still be able to perform.
“We took all this research and presented it to the university and said, ‘This is our plan and what we’re going to do,’” Almany said. “The health services and administrators looked at it and said, ‘Alright go ahead; it looks you are following everything you need to follow.’”
Telecommunication media studies junior Mackenna Benson said Almany is always motivating his students during these many changes which include social distancing and performing in a new location.
“Even before the semester started, he said that he didn’t know what was going to happen with COVID even if we got to make music for four weeks, we’d still get to play together for those four weeks,” Benson said. “That’s saying a lot more for us because I know the University of Texas didn’t get to have any ensembles so I feel extremely lucky to be able to actually play.”
In spite of the new rules and formats, playing in the orchestra still feels normal even though they are using a new performance format, mechanical engineering doctoral student Tim Kroeger said.
“It’s actually more normal to still play music and to actually still be able to see people when most of the week I kinda see no one at all and so it’s actually refreshing to come to rehearsal twice a week even if the circumstances are odd,” Kroeger said.
Microbiology graduate student Manuel Ramirez said this is one side of the pandemic a lot of people don’t think about because not everyone is a musician.
“They say we should just cancel classes in person all the time and stick to online only,” Ramirez said. “We can do that for academics, but let’s keep the music side open because if we go back to online only we won’t be able to have ensembles. That would really suck the life out of the musicians here at A&M because, [for] a lot of us, music is a great part of our lives. I’m hoping to see this stay up and running for the rest of the semester.”

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