The Return of Ensembles and Music Lessons


Mei Matsui ’23 for The Circle Voice

Music has finally returned to the Circle after a long wait. Following new Covid-19 protocols this year, the Groton music ensembles have started meeting again while braving many difficulties, putting pieces together to perform this Parents Weekend in the CPAC.


Chamber Orchestra meetings have been “very challenging,” according to conductor Mr. Timothy Terranella. Since wind players are not allowed to play in the buildings, they rehearse outdoors, while Mr. Terranella oversees the string players inside. Although the entire orchestra has yet to rehearse together indoors, they have practiced outdoors on the Circle together. Given this, the weather presents challenges. Wind players are unable to rehearse if it is raining, and once temperatures drop it will become even more difficult to rehearse outside. To help combat the cold, Mr. Terranella plans to request for heated tents for all the players to rehearse in. Despite these obstacles, he is happy that the wind players get to display their talents again and looks forward to the performance.


This year, the Choir is especially “at the mercy of the weather,” says Julia Lin ’22, because events like rain could affect performances, although meeting under a tent has helped. It’s also harder to project voices outside, so there would have to be more singers for the choir to have a fuller sound. Wearing masks while singing also affects the members, as they mute the voices of the singers, and the masks the choir puts on are uncomfortable at times, according to Maya Varkey ’22. However, this year things have pretty much returned to normal, and both choir members are grateful to be able to sing again. During the recent Sunday Communion on Oct. 24, Sunday choir sang for the first time in St. John’s Chapel in more than a year.


The Jazz Ensemble has also encountered difficulties with the weather. “Sound does not project well in the wind,” says Mr. Kikuchi, the jazz director. He is not as worried about music lessons, but he’s looking forward to going inside with the Jazz Ensemble and continuing to make “happy music.” Indeed, the Jazz Ensemble’s lively practice sessions have filled the air on campus with cheerful music. On Oct. 26, the Jazz Combo, a sans-brass instruments branch of the Jazz Ensemble, finally performed indoors, brightening morning chapel with a repertoire of songs.


Although Groton’s musical ensembles are still facing challenges, compared to last year, it is definitely progress from former years. Before, Mr. Terranella couldn’t be on campus, and the choir members were not able to sing at all; the fact that wind musicians and singers can play music on the Circle is still a respectable feat. With gradually loosening restrictions, as well as the upcoming performance at Parents Weekend, the future for Groton’s ensembles is taking a turn for the better. The students remain enthusiastic, as Maya Varkey says, “I’m excited to sing, even if it’s outside.”