Sunderman Conservatory Fall Update - July 31, 2020

Dear Sunderman Community,

I hope this email finds you well as you prepare for the start of the fall semester. This message is intended to provide you with important details regarding the Sunderman Conservatory experience this fall.

As I stated in my July 14 message, realities of the COVID-19 pandemic have had profound impacts on the field of music. More specifically, practicing and performing music in close proximity with one another poses unique risks for transmitting the novel coronavirus. Therefore, we have taken steps to reimagine Conservatory interactions to help ensure a safe and meaningful learning environment on campus this fall.

Within this email, you will see descriptions and guidelines for a variety of Conservatory activities. These guidelines contain recommended health and safety protocols to be put in place as we resume on-campus activities. They are intended to apply to all members of the Sunderman Conservatory community—Gettysburg College students, faculty, and staff, as well as contractors, vendors, visitors, and guests—while on campus or in College facilities. We anticipate updating these guidelines as the pandemic evolves and new research regarding best practices emerge.

While this email primarily addresses protocols for on-campus experiences, we recognize some students may choose to study remotely. With this in mind, the Conservatory is offering some courses entirely online and the majority of Conservatory courses are being designed to accommodate both students both online and in-person. In the event that a student is unable to complete a requirement remotely, we will work them to determine an alternative means for completing the requirement and ensure a timely path to graduation.

Below you will find important information regarding the following topics:

Applied Lessons

Private Voice Instruction

  • Masking required for all individuals at all times.
  • In-person lessons of no more than 30 minutes with at least 12 feet of physical distancing between student, pianist, and teacher.
  • Students may complete 60-minute lessons through a combination of in-person and remote instruction. Conservatory spaces will be provided for students completing remote lessons on campus.
  • 30-60-minute room vacancy between each lesson for air exchange.
  • Faculty/students responsible for disinfecting music stands and other surfaces via provided disinfectant wipes before and after each lesson.

Private Instruction in Winds and Brass

  • Masking required for all individuals at all times (see options for modified masks for wind and brass players).
  • In-person lessons of no more than 30 minutes with at least 15 feet of physical distancing between student, pianist, and teacher.
  • Students may complete 60-minute lessons through a combination of in-person and remote instruction. Conservatory spaces will be provided for students completing remote lessons on campus.
  • 30-60-minute room vacancy between each lesson for air exchange.
  • Faculty/students responsible for disinfecting music stands and other surfaces via disinfectant wipes before and after each lesson.

Private Instruction for Strings, Guitar, Percussion, Piano, and Composition

  • Masking for all participants.
  • In-person lessons of no more than 60 minutes with at least six feet of physical distancing between student, pianist, and teacher.
  • Students may complete lessons through a combination of in-person and remote instruction. Conservatory spaces will be provided for students completing remote lessons on campus.
  • 30-minute room vacancy between each lesson to allow for adequate air exchange.
  • Faculty/students responsible for disinfecting music stands, piano keyboards, and other surfaces via disinfectant wipes before and after each lesson.
  • Please note all composition lessons will be conducted virtually in Fall 2020.

Instrumental Ensembles

During the Fall 2020 semester, instrumentalists will have the opportunity to work on a variety of repertoire in small group collaborations. Our intention is to provide students with the opportunity to learn and experience a significant amount of repertoire in advanced reading sessions without necessarily requiring a traditional public performance. Although these guidelines are specific to wind symphony and symphony orchestra, we expect our other instrumental ensembles will take a similar approach. The scale of these collaborations will depend on the availability of appropriate spaces.

General considerations

  • Where auditions are required, auditions will be completed via recording (instructions to follow).
  • Limit to no more than 10 individuals per room (conductor/coach plus nine students).
  • Rehearsals of no more than 60 minutes.

Strings

  • String players must wear their masks throughout the entire rehearsal.
  • Physical distancing of six feet when playing, as well as before and after rehearsal is expected.
  • Limit to no more than 10 individuals per room (conductor/coach plus 9 students).
  • Each rehearsal will last a maximum of 60 minutes to include set up and tear down.

Winds

  • Winds must wear their masks throughout the entire rehearsal. Masks should have a small slit cut into them to allow for the placement of the mouthpiece. Student provided disposable masks are recommended for this purpose. Flutists may utilize a wind deflector attached to the head joint.
  • Physical distance of 15 feet when playing, as well as six feet before and after rehearsal is expected.
  • Bells of instruments should be covered with an appropriate bell cover.
  • Water (spit) from water keys must be collected. Disposable collection pads will be provided for this purpose. Students may also wish to consult their applied teacher for other mitigation strategies.

Percussion

  • Percussionists must wear their masks throughout the entire rehearsal.
  • Physical distance of six feet when playing, as well as before and after rehearsal is expected.
  • Students should not share sticks and mallets. Where this is not possible (e.g. bass drum and gong mallets), mallets should be disinfected prior to use, as well as before sharing with the next musician.
  • Every percussionist should properly disinfect and store every shared instrument (e.g. marimba, timpani, and cymbals).

Bullets Marching Band

The Bullets Marching Band will rehearse following its traditional schedule, however, rehearsal will be exclusively outdoors. Members of the band will be distanced at minimum of a six-by-six-foot interval, and trombone players will be distanced at a six-by-nine-foot interval to provide slide clearance. Drill will be composed using these guidelines, where a performer is no closer than a ‘four-step’ distance from other performers. One ‘eight-to-five step’ is 22.5 inches. This allows a minimum distance of 90 inches (7.5 feet) between individuals. There will be a minimum ‘6-step' distance (11.25 feet) in front of all trombone players. Members and instructors of the Bullets Marching Band will wear masks during rehearsal and performance. Piccolo players will insert their mouthpieces through the side of their masks, flute players may utilize an air deflector, and other wind players will insert their mouthpiece through a modified slit cut in theirs. Cloth bell covers will be provided for all wind instruments and will be utilized in rehearsal and performance.

Choirs

The overall goal of the choral program continues to be for singers to learn about music and singing through the medium of the choral art, and to foster a community around choral singing. Due to the limitations of in-person meetings outlined below, performances this semester will be in the form of recordings. As much as possible, these recordings will be made during in-person rehearsals and recording sessions. If the College must switch to remote learning at a later date due to COVID-19 concerns, contingency plans will be in place to continue our projects online.

COVID-19 protocols require certain methods to maximize the safety of everyone in our community. Choral ensembles will engage in a mixture of in-person and online experiences.

In-person meetings

  • Will take place during the normally scheduled class times for each ensemble.
  • It is possible that not every singer will meet in person during each scheduled rehearsal time.
  • Will include no more than 10 people, including director (and accompanist, if applicable). We will rehearse and record portions of pieces together during these meeting times. This does not necessarily mean that the same people will always rehearse together. We will vary the ways that people sing together.
  • Will involve appropriate physical distancing between all personnel.
  • Will last no longer than 30 minutes in any room; however, movement between spaces is allowed, so that 30-minute blocks of rehearsal time may be combined in different spaces. For instance, a cohort might rehearse for 30 minutes in one room, then move to another room for another 30-minute block of time.
  • All personnel will wear properly-fitted masks at all times, including while singing.
  • Rooms will have a 30-minute vacancy between rehearsals to allow for adequate air exchange.

Remote meetings

  • Every singer will have some remote learning every week. They may or may not have an in-person rehearsal in a given week.
  • Music learning—learning the notes—will primarily take place outside of rehearsal, using online tools that will be supplied to assist this process.
  • Most of this remote work will take place asynchronously, at a time of the student’s choosing.
  • There may also be occasions when students will need to be available for online meetings during the normally scheduled time for the class.
  • There will be ways for students who are not in residence (i.e. all-remote) to participate in choirs.

Choir Auditions/Voice Checks

  • Will take place remotely, online. Singers will be able to complete the process whenever they wish—no appointment necessary. Announcements will be made when this audition process is available.
  • Singers will be given a brief passage to learn before they begin the process.
  • Singers will fill out a form with information about themselves and their choral experience.
  • The form will have a procedure that will allow singers to record their audition right in the webpage and submit the recordings with the form. Everything will take place right in the form.
  • The recordings will consist of two brief vocal exercises, singing a song like “Row, Row Your Boat” and the previously learned passage.
  • Returning singers who wish to return to the same ensemble in which they sang last spring will not need to audition. Singers who wish to sing in a new ensemble, and all incoming students must complete a voice check. All auditionees for Camerata must complete the audition process, even if they’ve sung there before.
  • Voice part and choir placements will be announced after all auditions have been received.

Performance Opportunities

Studio Classes

  • Masking required for all individuals at all times (see modified masking for wind and brass players).
  • Voice: In-person classes of no more than 30 minutes with at least 12 feet of physical distancing between scheduled performers, pianist, and teacher.
  • Strings, Guitar, Percussion, Piano, and Composition: In-person classes of no more than 60 minutes with at least six feet of physical distancing between scheduled performers, pianist, and teacher.
  • Winds and Brass: In-person classes of no more than 30 minutes with at least 15 feet of physical distancing between scheduled performers, pianist, and teacher.
  • Faculty/students responsible for disinfecting music stands and other surfaces before and after each class

Degree Recitals

  • Masking required for all individuals at all times (see modified masking for wind and brass players).
  • In-person performances follow timing and distancing guidelines above.
  • Recitals that exceed 30 minutes will be divided between two different spaces or performances.
  • Limited number of live audience members in compliance with physical distancing protocol.
  • Faculty/students responsible for disinfecting music stands and other surfaces before and after each recital.

Now Hear This!

  • Masking required for all individuals at all times (see modified masking for wind and brass players).
  • Recitals of no more than 30 minutes, following distancing guidelines for voice and instrument type as outlined above.
  • Limited number of live audience members in compliance with physical distancing protocol.
  • Faculty/students responsible for disinfecting music stands and other surfaces before and after each recital.

Practice Spaces

  • Routine daily cleaning by Facilities.
  • Each practice room will be supplied with disinfecting supplies. Students will be responsible for wiping down surfaces, music stands, chair, doorknobs, light switches, piano keys, and other high-tough areas before and after use.
  • Facilities will provide cleaning supplies and necessary signage for cleaning instructions.
  • A sign-out system will be employed to facilitate access to practice space and ensure adequate air exchange between uses following guidelines for voice and instrumental areas described above.
  • To ensure sufficient practice space for all students residing on campus, particularly in light of the additional time needed between uses, additional practice spaces have been established in Schmucker Hall and other spaces on campus.

Given the fluid nature of this pandemic, the Sunderman Conservatory is prepared to update these plans as new research and best practices become available. The College and Conservatory, while committed to opening and remaining residential for the fall, are likewise prepared to adjust course if the need arises to ensure the health and safety of our students. We thank you for your patience and understanding as these important plans have been and continue to be developed and refined with these potential scenarios in mind. If you have questions about any of the items specific to the Conservatory covered in this email, you can email conservatoryreturn@gettysburg.edu. More general inquiries may be directed to fallreturn@gettysburg.edu.

As you are intimately aware, our success as a College—and as a society—in the months ahead will require our dedication, collaboration, and trust. I believe these ideals, in so many ways, embody the Sunderman community that I have come to know and so deeply respect. In this, I am confident that we will serve as leaders and role models—on our campus and beyond—as together we navigate this unique moment in our history.

We look forward to commencing the fall semester with you on August 17.

With best wishes,

James M. Day, DMA | Director

Gettysburg College | Sunderman Conservatory of Music
300 North Washington Street | Gettysburg, PA 17325
Phone: 717-337-6127 | www.gettysburg.edu
Pronouns: He/him/his