A soundless hall

Music department faces an all time low in motivation due to lack of concerts


Katie Giebelstein

The auditorium, where concerts are held, empty.

Katie Giebelstein, Reporter

A silence lingers in the air, a quiet echo of phantoms in the past that carries the sounds of music to the ears of those who miss it.

Music has always been a big part of West and the district as a whole, from competitions to concerts being held regularly, it’s always been a leading feature to the high school. This year, however, hasn’t turned out to be the best for the music department.

“I am upset but I can’t blame anyone,” said junior Jaden Altman. 

Altman plays the violin in orchestra and has been with the high school orchestra since freshman year. Having experienced plenty of concerts, he’s had a few he missed more than others.

“[I] Definitely missed the Messiah. It’s fun and you get to see everyone from every school at the same time in a big concert,” said Altman. 

Chairs in the orchestra room placed six feet apart in order to maintain social distance. (Katie Giebelstein)

Though the Messiah is a huge concert, there was also another big thing missing from the band, as their usual performances the marching band would provide at football games got cut to just one this year.

“[The show] didn’t live up to the standard of years before. We did a pity show,” junior Caleb Killing said.

But, marching band season ended back in the fall and now jazz band has begun, Killing is involved in it along with fellow junior Kamrin Varela. 

“I’ve been in it for one year and it was last year… This year it’s one group, instead of Jazz 1 it’s just Jazz,” said Varela. 

This change also opened the jazz band up for new additions.

“Last year it was two separate groups, not this year. It’s one big group and freshmen can join now,” said Killing.

Band director Maggie Oates has confirmed this statement, having dropped Jazz two for size reasons.

“We’re not small, in fact this year is bigger. I took on more people since there’s no Jazz two,” Oates said.

Normally Jazz band would compete during the year, but according to Oates, there won’t be any competitions this year due to Covid as well as the combining of the two groups.

“This year is more of a learning experience than competition focused,” said Oates. 

Though, that does cause a motivational dilemma within the band itself, as some kids enjoy the competition aspect of jazz band and without it they don’t enjoy it.

“There’s no point in jazz band without competition,” said Killing. 

That also leads to more issues involving the band’s general confidence to play, as some don’t have the energy to keep it up without a motivator. 

“It sounds a lot more garbage because morale is down… As a group we’re divided, we need to have a goal,” said Killing.

Varela shares a similar sentiment as Killing, which goes against her usual enjoyment towards the band and performing in it. 

“This year’s not fun, we don’t have motivation. Last year I practiced every day and this year it’s at least once a month,” Varela said.

But, motivation isn’t the only issue, with freshmen being allowed into the mix they’ve had to pull back on the harder pieces.

“There’s not as many challenging things; we’re not really doing anything hard,” said Killing. 

And, another issue seems to be maintaining that regulatory six feet apart in social distancing.

“It’s hard to hear because we’re all so spread apart, it’s easier when we’re closer,” said Varela. 

This leads to a new question however; are they playing for nothing or are they performing eventually, or is the whole thing up in the air?

“It’s digital. We run through songs and she records us before putting them in the classroom so we can show our parents,” Varela said.

Regardless, with kids returning to school full time, things are looking to be on the brighter side as this draws hope for in person concerts to be allowed before the end of the year. 

“Right now we’re doing recorded concerts. We’re planning to do the virtual option for large group,” said Oates.

Large group is a competition that both the band and orchestra can perform in. This year, due to Covid, it’s been offered virtually and not in the style of competition, but it’s still available for the schools who want to participate. 

“We are hoping to do an in-person concert at the end of this year… that’s our hope,” said Oates.