Sports. Sports. Sports. When it comes to how much COVID has affected students during the pandemic, sports have dominated the headlines.
Of course, athletics are not the only activities affected by the pandemic. In fact, they haven’t even been the most impacted activities.
The performing arts: drama, band, chorus, and dance have had an even more difficult time navigating the pandemic.
Tyrone’s music and drama program lost their spring musical production for the past two years and there have been no POPS or concert choir performances since Christmas of 2019.
The band has not performed outside of football games since last December. Online and hybrid classes have also hit the music department harder than any other class because the students could not practice together.
Tyrone’s Dance Fusion Dance School has not had a public performance in over a year.
Despite this, students and teachers in the performing arts have been doing their best to keep their kids going under difficult circumstances.
Tyrone High School Choir Director Laura Harris has been working hard behind the scenes to figure out how to safely let the students perform, or at least practice their skills.
“I ordered 200 face shields,” said Harris. “Each student gets two. One to practice before the concert and one for the concert.”
Choir members did finally receive some good news, getting word recently that their spring concert will occur on Mothers Day, though not as publicly as they would like.
Choir members will get five tickets per student for the concert. However, the public is not allowed to attend the performance.
“I feel bad for the seniors that don’t get a great senior year and are missing out on things,” said junior Ashlee Walk.
The band has had similar difficulties, having to spread seating out in the rehearsal room to meet social distancing guidelines. The fifth and sixth grade bands could not play as a full group this year due to social distancing guidelines.
“We have made the best of a difficult year. The students were still able to accomplish and learn a lot,” said Tyrone Band Director David Hock.
Amongst all of the mask rules and social distancing, Harris has noticed some positives coming out of all of this chaos.
“People are willing to work. No one is complaining when we have to sing; both concert choir and POPS are being drama free and everyone is getting along,” said Harris.
With the musical being canceled, Mrs. Harris is working towards the spring concert and doing everything in her power to keep everyone safe.
Tyrone’s local dance team has also been figuring out ways to continue their program over the past 12 months.
Lindsay Pullara of Dance Fusion has been able to keep her studio open and is making sure everyone is safe. With the social distancing limiting the number of people allowed in the studio, Pullara made the decision to cut out some classes.
Just like Harris, Pullara has also noticed positive outcomes from all of her dancers.
“One of my main mottos that I have been saying a lot during this pandemic is that, where there is a will, there is a way. We’ve gotten very creative with how we have recital performances and classes. Another thing that I noticed is the more dedicated dancers have been and they have really stepped up. While overall studio numbers are down, both our competitive dance and cheer team numbers are up,” said Pullara.
The dancers have been following the mask protocols to make sure that they stay healthy and ready for competitions, which have slowly been returning, although with restrictions.
“The whole team worked so hard to get the dances finished in a safe and timely manner. Something we couldn’t do which was really sad was we couldn’t watch all the other dances because we had block scheduling at the dance competitions,” said sophomore Marley Grazier.