Art Students Find New Ways to Reach Their Audience Amongst the Pandemic


Junior Ian Smith of Park School of Baltimore behind the scenes of his school’s outdoor play. Photo Courtesy of Ian Smith

Kenny Graninger

As all students are struggling with the change of online school, one group of students is particularly overlooked: performing arts students. Art students are struggling to  readjust their schedules and finding new ways to make sure they are seen.

Sydney Endres, a junior at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, is taking a part in the radio play production of “A Christmas Carol” through the theatre department. They have broken up the show into five different episodes, Endres notes that this “gave more opportunities for stage crew because it allowed for more people to direct the different episodes”. They are putting this together not through a physical performance, but through a podcast where you can hear the actors going through the story. Endres explains that this is all being done from the “comfort of everyone’s home” where they record their part and then send it in to be put together with Soundtrap. She says that it is still about the same amount of stress as a physical performance but it is nicer because “we don’t have to memorize lines”. However she did talk about how being away from everyone and not being at school did “take away from the community aspect of things” making it harder to communicate with everyone other than the occasional Zoom meetings. Students can listen to the production on the ERHS Theatre Department’s website! 

Jazz ensemble member Quinlan Ngo, who is a junior at James Hubert Blake High School in Montgomery County, has his own struggles that he has been dealing with due to the pandemic. Ngo plays the bass trombone and always has to find a secluded area in his house where he will make the least amount of noise possible. He says “it is harder to practice because parents and family at home work at the same time”. Also to make the whole ensemble music come together they have to record their parts individually at home and send it in for someone to stitch them together. Ngo talks about how he always has problems with recording because the low end sounds of the instrument always end up being distorted. He goes on to explain that it is hard to balance practicing on top of other things such as school work and out of school activities along with the fact that he doesn’t have the opportunity to receive feedback from peers or his instructor. Nonetheless he still does his best to get as much practice in as possible.

Park School of Baltimore in Baltimore County junior, Ian Smith, has had his school takes some different approaches to dealing with COVID when it comes to the arts. Right now his theatre department is putting on a play. He says that they are doing most of the work outside, following CDC guidelines, and behind the scenes work is done virtually. Smith says that he feels his “performance is enhanced because he has the opportunity to be able to redo scenes to perfect them”, whereas if the show was live, mistakes would not be able to be corrected. As of now the school is unsure of how they will broadcast the show, but they are doing it online to eliminate the possibility of spreading the virus around to people who come to watch it. 

Art students of all sorts are still working hard to make sure that they stay up to date with each other and with their projects and still reach their audiences to help during these tough times.