Music plays on (even during a pandemic)

Virtual concert will be livestreamed on Dec. 10 at 6 p.m.

By Will Mulligan | December 2, 2020 11:16am
In spite of the fact that they haven't been able to meet in person this semester, the UP music department is putting on a concert performance via zoom on December 10th at 6pm. The concert will be made up of three individual pieces, and total 15 minutes in length.
Media Credit: Ryan Reynolds / The Beacon

Maybe you’ve heard a roommate singing through your walls, or your neighbor playing tuba from an open window. Music halls and concert venues are closed currently due to COVID-19, but that hasn’t stopped the UP Music department from creating their usual tunes, wherever that may be.

Music Department faculty and students have spent the semester recording and compiling performances for a virtual concert, which will be livestreamed on Dec. 10 at 6 p.m.

Like many other performing arts groups across the world, the music department has utilized technology to continue practicing and performing. Rather than performing live, faculty have been collecting student recordings of their at-home performances and compiling them into one piece.

“Everyone's recording these things separately,” Dr. Patrick Murphy, UP’s Bands director said. “If you've got 40 people in the ensemble, it's 40 individual videos and recordings that come in and then we collate each of those into Zoom meetings where people are playing instruments singing all together.”

Canva by Ryan Reynolds

The concert is smaller scale than the usual in-person performance, but the concert serves an important role for the students, according to Murphy.

“We usually do hour long concerts,” Murphy said. “Now we're doing three pieces that take 15 minutes total. And so we're doing a fraction of what we usually do. But we're still engaging the students, and they're still getting to know each other. So we think it’s working as well as it can in this particular environment.”

Students sent in recordings of their performances in bedrooms, basements or dorm rooms. Faculty then had to adapt their own skill sets to fit a different kind of job, that of music recording and engineering.

“Those of us who are conductors, we've turned into sound and audio and video engineers,” Murphy said. “We've all learned how to use Audacity and Cakewalk and whatever video program we're using to put these things together. None of us are trained for it, but hey, it's 2020. That's what we're doing.”

The concert will feature virtual performances by the entire music program, the University Orchestra, Wind Symphony, Jazz Ensemble, the University Singers and Bel Canto.

Though the online venue for the livestream has not yet been chosen, more information can be found as the day approaches on the Music department’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

Will Mulligan is a reporter for The Beacon. He can be reached at