Technology fatigue is something almost everyone is familiar with at this point. Many of the Philharmonic Association’s young musicians and staff began the 2020-21 season exhausted with virtual rehearsals and ready to make creative adjustments in order to continue playing together. The Triangle Youth Philharmonic Woodwind Quintet, for instance, decided to organize in-person and socially distanced rehearsals for the semester and to come up with one-of-a-kind performance ideas that would allow the group to stay safe while sharing their music with an audience.
This year our long-standing woodwind quintet consists of members Ryan Gibson (bassoon), Brennan Robbins (flute), Claire Siegel (clarinet), Megan Vezetti (oboe), and Sydney Closson (horn). The quintet’s coach of twelve years, Mary Boone, has been particularly creative when it comes to finding performance opportunities for the ensemble. In October, for example, she arranged a Halloween porch concert for her neighborhood Historic Oakwood. From the porch of Ann Robertson and Hans Linnartz at 516 East Jones Street, the Woodwind Quintet performed a wonderful selection of classical music including works by Gershwinn, Hayden, and Bizet with some pops thrown in such as Henry Mancini’s “Pink Panther.” The audience was able to enjoy the performance while social distancing and soaking in a beautiful autumn day. Describing the performance, quintet member Sydney Closson says,
“I really liked playing on the porch because so many people were able to hear us while staying safe. I like performing and sharing my playing with other people and I am so glad I got the chance to do that.”
The TYP Woodwind Quintet is incredibly grateful that they have been able to meet and perform in-person this semester. Quintet member Brennan Robbins says,
“It was hard to find an in person ensemble experience that I was actually comfortable with, but 5 people spaced well apart allowed me to continue my favorite type of music making (ensemble playing) safely. This is the only ensemble I’ve been able to play in since the pandemic began, so it’s just a nice escape from the isolation of just everyday life, and practicing by yourself.”
Like Brennan, Claire Siegel expresses her excitement about the chance to meet as a chamber ensemble:
“While being able to work individually and virtually provides great opportunities and room to grow, being in the Wing Quintet has meant so much as I have been able to make chamber music for the first time even under such odd circumstances!”
Although porches may have taken the place of concert halls for the time being, our woodwind quintet and many of our other ensembles cherish the opportunities they have to connect with each other in-person.