The Show Must Go On: North Hennepin Orchestra Gets Creative During COVID-19


10:41 a.m. | Friday, November 27, 2020

Normally, practicing four pieces of music would be a light schedule for a North Hennepin Community College Concert Band session. But due to COVID-19 restrictions and precautions, the band can only rehearse for 30 minutes at a time before the air needs to be distributed and filtered.

However, the school’s IT department came to the rescue to help the band play together neatly. They created a program that allows the band to split up into different rooms and use audio and monitors to play together in real time.

“We all have a passion for music and a need to play it and play together in the same space, said director David Mantini. “Zoom is not enough.”

The North Hennepin Community College Concert Band will perform in a virtual concert in December.

The musicians also had to equip their instruments with masks. The woodwinds play with a bag around them which reduces aerosols and the brass have horn covers.

“It’s tricky because my flute gets stuck in the mask,” said Molly Eckhoff, who wears a mask over her face and then a mask also covers her instrument.

But students and staff say there’s magic in music and just being together.

“It’s seeing everyone and it’s a lot easier to hear all the parties working together,” said Meredith Grivna, who plays oboe.

The concert will fall on North Hennepin website in December. There won’t be any live performances, but the musicians and director are looking to it optimistically.

“Anyone with the link can come see us,” Mantini said. “So we have a potential audience of billions of people.”

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