Pandemic can't stop the music at M State

December 18, 2020

Fall music concerts are a tradition at Minnesota State Community and Technical College, but they’ll have a non-traditional look this month as the college’s Fine Arts Department responds to the ongoing pandemic and takes its performances online.

The community is invited to enjoy a virtual concert that will be posted at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 22, at and feature the music of the M State Concert Choir and Chamber Chorale directed by Laura Quaintance and two ensembles from the M State Concert Band directed by Jim Iverson.

“The choir will be performing many pieces that allude to hope, connection and togetherness in a time that we crave each of those things so much,” Quaintance said.

She said the Chamber Chorale was able to have one recording session early in the semester, and the rest was completed with virtual choir and audio track submissions. “It was definitely a labor of love for these singers who have worked so hard,” she added.

The choir performance will include songs from the Wailin’ Jennys and Dolly Parton, as well as folk music and other familiar tunes.

The pandemic and the shift to online classes added a whole new dimension to teaching music, Quaintance said. “We’re learning so much in terms of technology and which applications work best for us.”

“One of the things we’ve learned this year is patience,” said student Izabel Sherman of Fergus Falls. “We’ve learned a lot about working together and the value of clear communications, the use of modern music technology. As singers, we generally don’t get to use a lot of technology first-hand. It’s guaranteed to make us better singers.”

For the Concert Band, rehearsals posed a challenge when some members had to quarantine at different times during the semester.

“The situation isn’t ideal in the fact that everyone would rather be playing in the full concert band, but all the musicians were just glad to be back and able to play again after the abrupt ending to our rehearsals last March, “ Iverson said. “I can’t state enough how proud I am of the students and the adult musicians that have committed themselves to keeping the music alive at M State this school year under these challenging circumstances.”

The Woodwind Ensemble will be performing the 16th century “Coventry Carol,” the French traditional carol “Pat-a-pan” and Aaron Copeland’s “Down a Country Lane.” The performance by the Brass Ensemble will feature “Tiger Rag,” “Amazing Grace,” and “Square” and “Swing, both from “American Dances.”

Once it’s live, the link to the M State concert will be available for about one week.