Music program faces challenges with online learning


Penha Santos

A ukulele sits, waiting to be used.

Griffin Parker, Social Media Editor

Online learning has been a challenge for both teachers and students alike. One program facing exceptionally large obstacles is the music program. The music program is an essential part of Westford Academy, and now, its teachers face a new, unprecedented challenge: How can we make music together while quarantining apart?

The first challenge facing the music program is that it is impossible to make music together. Sophomore chorus member Anne Marie Mattila noted that the sense of togetherness has been lost.

“Choir is about singing as a group, and feeling this sense of togetherness, and using all of our individual voices and blending them together into one, but now that we can’t be physically together, that whole aspect gets taken away, and it’s really not the same,” Mattila said.

Choir teacher Karen St. George is glad that her students are asking to continue singing, even if they can’t do it together.

“Experiencing music together is impossible now. We’ve had to change to experiencing music individually. I can’t give my students feedback in the moment. It might be a week before I’m able to give them feedback on their work now, and it really bothers me. I’m really glad they’ve been excited to keep singing though,” St. George said.

Senior band section leader Zachary Roberts noted that hearing everyone’s hard work come together to make something beautiful is taken away with this new system.

“Everyone in the band worked together to make something greater than the sum of its parts, working tirelessly for hours upon hours inside and outside of school. To have that taken away is tragic,” Roberts said.

The chorus and band would have had many opportunities to perform this spring, which makes the cancellations even worse for those students. The band would have played at the spring concerts, the Apple Blossom Parade, the Jazz Gala, the spring musical, the art show, and Graduation. Their big trip to the Massachusetts State House was canceled, as well.

The chorus missed out on their spring concerts, junior and senior districts, a performance at the State House, graduation performance, and a visit from a college Acappella group. According to Mattila, losing the concerts may not be the worst part.

“We can’t properly say goodbye to our seniors one last time. It’s really sad that we can’t do that, and spend these last few months together before they are gone. We don’t have the opportunity to sing together as this exact choir with these exact people one last time,” Mattila said.

The family atmosphere built in the chorus and band rooms is also being missed by both the students and teachers.

“What I miss most about not having chorus is being able to take a break from a stressful day of school and just be relaxed. MSG is like our second mom. She cares so much about all of us, and we are all like one big family in choir,” Mattila said.

Band director Michael Soo is deeply saddened by losing this sense of family.

“In the band room, we’re a family. We make bad jokes and puns, we play our music with passion, and we all love each other,” says Soo.

Every student and staff in the music program is deeply missing their music program, but Roberts summed it up best.

“Losing band is not just a loss of individual connections and friendships. but the loss of that connected creative community that without, no such big and invigorating pieces can be performed,” Roberts said.