At Doane University, the Arts are quintessential to many of the lives of students. Choir, Band, and Theatre programs are trying to accomodate to the best of their ability.
Among the staff that is transitioning to an online format is Kurt Runestad, director of Doane Choir and co-director of Collegiate Choral.
“We are doing the best we can. This is difficult because my main passion, which is making music with others in the room, suffers pretty heavily," Runestad said.
Jay Gilbert, the Concert Band Director at Doane, had similar thoughts. Gilbert said he misses being able to be with his students and making music.
Gilbert brought up how many big artists are trying to find ways to perform.
“People are trying to comfort each other through online concerts," Gilbert said.
Dr. Gilbert explained how many local musicians are struggling now because most live performances have been cancelled due to COVID-19.
Most of the education world is facing quick transitions and accommodations to their classes. When it comes to the “new normal” for classes in the arts, many professors have turned to Zoom.
“We pivoted to some other things to keep choir in our lives," Runestad said.
Both choir groups meet weekly on Zoom. Runestad explained how the choirs are still listening and responding to music together. With the Doane Choir, Runestad plays accompaniment to songs that the choir has performed in the past semester while everyone mutes themselves and sings.
“We can sing together, but no one can hear each other," Runestad said.
Senior Allison Baird, a Vocal Performance and Theatre major, described the accommodations the Theatre Department has made. Most professors have turned to video and Zoom lectures.
Assistant Professor of Theatre Joel Egger has been doing warm-ups on Fridays on Flipgrid. The Playwriting class has continued to write and share their creations with each other.
Gilbert explained the sudden transition to online.
“We have listened to some great band music and shared some music we’ve enjoyed," Gilbert said.
Gilbert said he is eager about the unknown future. He has expressed that there are several options, such as Chamber Music and using Smart Music technology.
As someone who has picked a career in the Arts, Baird had some thoughts on the future.
“Yes, the arts are an unpredictable career choice regardless of when you join, but especially in a pandemic," Baird said. "Arts are necessary and always bounce back. People are going to need the comfort that the arts bring."
Runestad and Gilbert are remaining in good spirits.
Runestad said, “I will be more radically grateful and radically appreciative for in person music-making when this is over.