Virtual orchestra students join face-to-face


Michael Martin

Having been virtual for more than a year, virtual students involved in orchestra are now able to drive up to the school exclusively during their class time.

Urja Joshi, Guest Contributor

For the fourth nine weeks, orchestra has provided the opportunity for virtual students to come to school for class. Many students have participated in this transition, growing the original face-to-face class from four students to fifteen students.

“It definitely feels weird to be back in school but it’s my last nine weeks as a high schooler,” senior Warren Shen said. “I figured going to school in person would just let me enjoy my final moments more.”

Students enter and exit through the back orchestra doors only, and are responsible for their own transportation. 

“It is realized that our performing arts students need to have the option to be in-person for these classes. For us in particular, making music is not easily done via Zoom,” orchestra director Julie Blackstock said via email. “So many students have been completely isolated for the past nine months. We’ve seen evidence of depression, sadness, and loneliness. Perhaps having the option of a smaller, more intimate group of students would be helpful.”

Virtual students who have chosen to go back to school for orchestra class feel happy with their choice as they reap the benefits. 

“After doing virtual learning for a year, being in person feels pretty strange, but the transition was not as difficult as I thought it would be,” Shen said. “I’m enjoying orchestra in-person right now because it just brings back memories of orchestra class from previous years and it’s a very casual environment. Everyone’s just there to play and vibe.”

Students had different reasons they switched to face-to-face instruction for orchestra, and junior Sarah Boutouis is pleased with her decision.

“I chose to do in-person orchestra for the last nine weeks not only because my friends were going back, but I missed making music with everyone during class,” she said. “In virtual orchestra, I felt isolated because I watched everyone through a Zoom screen from my room. But now since I am in-person, things feel like how they were pre-Covid: exciting and fun. So far, I like it a lot. We are currently picking out and learning the pieces that we are performing for the final concert, which is exciting.”