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Students reflect on performing without live audience during Winter Music Festival

The Jazz Ensemble began their set with a piece by Marcus Miller called 7 T’s. Despite each ensemble playing without a live audience, one benefit to the situation was they each got to rehearse in the concert hall rather than rehearsal rooms. (Adrianna Franco)

Music filled the empty Jewett Center for the Performing Arts as the Westminster Jazz Ensemble performed Friday night for the annual Winter Music Festival.

This year, the music festival looked and felt different as there was no live audience and it was live-streamed for the public because of the pandemic.

Bianca Quigley, a junior viola player in the chamber orchestra, said the event felt more like a recording session than a concert.

She added for someone who has performance anxiety — as she does — this way of performing eased that burden.

“It felt more like a recording session knowing that people would be listening to it,” Quigley said. “But since you can’t see those people it’s a little easier to get into the groove.” 

Karlie Bagnani, an alum who plays with the chamber orchestra, said the hardest part of not playing for a live audience was the absence of a crowd’s energy.

Bagnani said that the orchestra’s live stream garnered about 35-40 listeners which was a good turnout in her opinion.

“I think that’s more of a turnout than maybe would’ve been comfortable coming if we had it in person with a limit of guests,” Bagani said.

She said before the decision was made to live stream the festival, the rule was one audience member per orchestra member.

“I would say we got more of an audience this way and it was safer as well,” Bagani said. 


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Adrianna Franco is a junior communication major who loves photography and all things vintage. With an interest in public relations, Adrianna continues to explore all her options within the field of communications. In her spare time, you can find the old soul taking pictures, painting or watching a classic Audrey Hepburn film.

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