Clubs Get Creative Combatting Covid-19 

Courtesy+of+Noemi+Iwasaki+%2722.

Courtesy of Noemi Iwasaki '22.

As we prepare for the long-awaited return to campus, students are finalizing hybrid plans for their clubs, following Mr. Maqubela’s lead in conducting campus activities safely. Especially for the extracurricular arts, Covid-19 has created a myriad of challenges and some unexpected opportunities, prompting extracurricular heads to become creative with how they launch and maintain their clubs.

For John Rogers ’22, this fall term marks the launch of the Groton Bach Society, a musical endeavor into the Baroque period involving singers and chamber instrumentalists. Now that singing and wind instrument rehearsals are impossible due to the airborne transmission of Covid-19, the ensemble will be separated: string players will participate in regular socially distanced in-person rehearsals, while singers and wind instrumentalists will stay virtual according to John. Any members who aren’t on campus for the fall will supplement their involvement by participating in zoom meetings.

Theater has adapted similarly. In preparation for their two-week plays, there will be socially distant in-person rehearsals every few days inside the CPAC, where actors will take turns on stage to showcase what they have practiced alone, according to theater prefects Caroline Drapeau ’21 and Claire Holding ’21. The theatre program still plans to perform “She Kills Monsters” by Qui Nguyen, but through a special online adaptation of the original play that Performing Arts Director Laurie Sales had her eyes on last year. They hope to release segments in the form of episodes to the school, much like a television series, offering performers an exciting opportunity to practice on-camera acting.

While visual arts clubs such as the Photography Club will continue similarly to previous years, ensemble performance art clubs such as the Maqupellas will struggle with the challenges posed by Covid-19. “Everything is pretty up in the air right now,” Co-Head of Maqupellas Caroline Drapeau says, “but we will try to still hold virtual auditions for prospective members.”

Despite all of the disadvantages that Covid-19 brings, club heads are optimistic about the interesting dynamic that the pandemic adds to the creative arts. Going online will push the boundaries of what art traditionally is, and offer a unique perspective of creativity. Even though theater will lose the live audience that is a facet of its identity, without staging, all focus will instead be directed to the interactions between actors, which Caroline calls “raw acting,” and a “more intimate form of theater.” Even though ensembles can’t rehearse in the same space due to health restrictions, John believes that we can still create music, maybe even with more sense of self and personal expression.

Because of Covid-19 restrictions, students will be forced to spend more time alone. Our club heads are doing everything they can to help artists stay creative within this time. As John aptly puts it, Grotonians should regard this period as a “prolonged time of intense introspection,” from which individuals can emerge with a brand new outlook.