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Shepherd students rehearse outside for a future woodwind ensemble concert.

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Performing, but being safe during a pandemic are the challenges facing the staff and students at Shepherd University’s School of Music, but music and singing are still taking place.

“The students have been fantastic,” said Christina Smith, program assistant.

“And changes take place monthly, weekly and they’re still happening,” said Rachel Carlson, director of choral activities, during a video made concerning the many obstacles the department faced and continues to face.

Weekly virtual meetings took place during the summer to prepare for the next school year. Carlson was joined by Kurtis Adams, director of the School of Music; Scott Hippensteel, director of instrumental activities; and Robert Tudor, director of vocal activities, and dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

The use of plexiglass, special treatment of instruments after each use, dealing with face masks, social distancing and rehearsing outside are all part of this new world of music.

In the past, Shepherd students normally presented concerts during each semester, including choral, wind symphony, jazz band, small ensembles, composition recitals, a holiday gala, community music concerts, and many student concerts. The music school also offered a community Salon series of professional artists, which this year featured Shepherd professors.

“This semester all performances are being filmed and will be only available online,” said Smith. “We share our concerts and recitals on our YouTube channel at youtube.com/user/ShepherdUMusic. For our concerts, we premiere them at a specific date and time. During the premiere, there is a live chat function that allows us and our community to connect as we enjoy the concert. Once the premiere concludes, the live chat ends. The concert remains on our channel so that people can enjoy the concert at a later time.”

Smith said the performances are free for the community.

“In lieu of tickets, we are offering viewers the opportunity to donate to the school of music through our online giving form. All contributions go directly to supporting Shepherd music students,” Smith said.

The online giving form is shepherd.edu/donate-general-music-fund/

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