Singing Safely: a singer's perspective
As an incoming first year student, coronavirus restrictions made getting to know others even harder than it already is in the first semester of college. I had a lot of moments where I felt isolated as a result of the new rules, even while living on a college campus surrounded by hundreds of my peers. The majority of my classes were online, and even club meetings and student support services made the shift to Zoom. For me, College Choir was one of the few opportunities I had to actually engage with others in person.
I am a lifelong choir member – I can’t remember a year I haven’t been a part of a choir since I first began in fifth grade. I have valued singing in a choir not only for how it builds my musicianship but also as a way to be a part of a meaningful community. I am a firm believer that ensemble singing builds community bonds in a way that feels just as strong as the connections I have made on sports teams.
To be sure, my first choir rehearsal this past semester felt foreign, even futuristic. Everyone was spread far apart in Mead Chapel, masked up and often wearing headphones. However, despite (and even perhaps due to) the unconventional setup, I felt safe, and more importantly, I felt connected to other people. Learning how to navigate the new setup as we went along and enjoying being able to sing at all built an incredible camaraderie between members. It was one of the few moments in my week where I had overlap with students in other class years, and it was also a time I felt truly welcomed by my peers on campus.
Choir has always been a part of who I am, and I will always choose to pursue it if there is a safe way to do so. This past semester of choir at Middlebury for me felt like a very successful experiment. Being able to be in person with others is invaluable, if it is possible to institute COVID-safe protocols for choir.
Olivia Mueller '24