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And the band played on: UMaine music ensembles' annual tour goes virtual

'University Singers' member Nola Prevost said a virtual tour isn’t quite the same, but it’s a reminder of past successes and the possibilities post-pandemic
Credit: UMaine School of Performing Arts via Facebook

ORONO, Maine — The shows will go on! That’s the news from the University of Maine (UMaine) School of Performing Arts’ Division of Music. 

Usually each spring, performing groups from the Division tour the state to bring music to schools, churches, and community centers across the state. But the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing the groups to take the virtual route, offering their musical skills via YouTube live stream on Wednesday mornings starting next week, March 31. 

“Since we can’t tour, live streaming allows us to reach school students during a time when it is not possible to do so in person," Christopher White, director of the UMaine Symphonic Band, said in a release. 

UMaine said spring tours have long been a chance to reach into the community and foster interest in and commitment to the performing arts. Beyond enjoyment, White said, “we want students to realize performing music does last beyond the public school years, for all students regardless of major.”

The University Singers kick things off with performances that morning at 8:15 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. On Wednesday, April 7, the University Symphonic Band performs at the same times. 

Wrapping up the musical series is the University Jazz Ensemble, performing on Wednesday, April 14, again at 8:15 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. 

University Singers member Nola Prevost said a virtual tour isn’t quite the same, but it’s a reminder of past successes and the possibilities post-pandemic. 

“The tour has always been such a special time for us, because we get to be immersed in the music and we grow closer as a group. Losing that to the pandemic was hard," she said.

“I’m just glad we’re able to fall into some semblance of normal.”

“We’ve worked hard to continue making music during these times,” professor of trumpet and director of the Jazz Ensemble, Jack Burt, said. 

UMaine said their music ensembles have thrived despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic. Burt said the tour is a chance for them to show off a year of hard work under extraordinary conditions.

“We’ve got a wonderful program prepared," he said.

Click here to listen in.