What a year! 2020 has changed and challenged each of us and ESYO in unimaginable ways. Never before in recent memory have concert halls been shuttered and performances with in-person audiences paused because of a global pandemic. Words like Zoom, Google Classroom, social distancing, PPE, and essential workers have become common in our daily conversations with friends and family. We've worked to find ways to be together but apart, especially during the holidays. We've relied on essential workers to care for the sick and drive us to school and work. They've stocked grocery store shelves with food and medicine and delivered packages filled with gifts and household items that we bought online. They also kept us learning online when we couldn't be in school.
While not considered essential in the same way as first responders and those on the front lines in nursing homes and hospitals, or grocery clerks and bank tellers, bus drivers, mail carriers, or teachers, musicians have played an essential role throughout this pandemic. Even with concert halls closed, music continued to uplift people worldwide.
"Something very beautiful has come out of this... Despite all the limitations, the masks, and social distancing, these young musicians are doing a great job making beautiful music during a dark time. That we should all be grateful for."
Throughout the pandemic, music has helped communities to heal, connect, and sometimes mourn. Orchestras, like ESYO, found creative ways to make music together online. We built virtual concert halls and found new ways to share the music we love. Musicians like ESYO Alumnus Ashley Bathgate and many ESYO Young Leaders transformed their living rooms into recital halls, and audiences invited them into their homes using YouTube and Facebook Watch. Themba, a recent ESYO graduate, reveilled his neighborhood with rooftop concerts as COVID-19 cases continued to surge. The Tutti! Virtual Festival brought ESYO musicians together- all together- for the first time in over eight months. Throughout this ordeal, we have learned that music is essential to our well-being, especially during a pandemic. "Something very beautiful has come out of this," said ESYO String Orchestra conductor Joseph Gumpper. "Despite all the limitations, the masks, and social distancing, these young musicians are doing a great job making beautiful music during a dark time. That we should all be grateful for."
It is hard to imagine what life would be like if the music that we love was gone. Music is more than entertainment or an escape from the realities of today. It is an essential part of life that feeds the soul in trying times. ESYO recognizes that music nourishes the mind and sustains the well-being of both the music-maker and the listener. We've seen first hand the joy that can come from making music together. We've witnessed how music can illuminate the darkest and bleakest winter night. And the sheer passion and enduring resilience of ESYO's young musicians have taught us an important lesson; Music is essential, and ESYO is essential as a creative outlet for young musicians and the community.
"The overall feeling is one of not only playing but true passion, as this facet and outlet were taken away for so many months. COVID allowed many of us to appreciate the music we create to a new and more expansive level than before."
ESYO Senior and Symphony Orchestra Clarinetist Jared Lamson sums it up best in a recent interview with WTEN. "The overall feeling is one of not only playing but true passion, as this facet and outlet were taken away for so many months. COVID allowed many of us to appreciate the music we create to a new and more expansive level than before."
If music tells a story, strengthens a community, and creates a shared hope for a better tomorrow, our musicians like Jared and our conductors stand ready to inspire, provoke, and nourish each other and the community. We look forward to making music together and sharing our musical world with you in the new year.