What Did You Do Musically During the Long Covid Break?

We asked EMSO members to share some of what they did to keep up their musical chops during the Covid break.  Here’s what some of them had to say:

“I practice nearly daily during the Covid Break.  My Labradoodles joined in my warmup, making for a lovely cacophonous racket. My big Doodle prefers Mozart.” – John Sassaman, French Horn

“During our pandemic-induced pause on playing together, my time spent playing went down a bit due to work, although I try to pick my instrument up when I can to stay as sharp as I can. What I’ve been doing more of is composing music. Included in my new works are two string orchestra arrangements, which include the popular and beautiful pieces of ‘O Day Full of Grace‘ and ‘Down in the River to Pray’, and an original work which is an orchestral hymn titled ‘O Deep Reverence’ (still in progress).” -Kyle Johnson, Viola

“I played in a woodwind quintet/quartet (part of Bethel Philharmonic Orchestra) all last year. We had tried to put together a virtual orchestra but didn’t get full participation. This summer I played four concerts in Shoreview Northern Lights Variety Band.  At my church I have played my clarinet several times, directed/played handbells at Christmas, as well as singing on the worship team and choir. Also played with Woodale Church’s orchestra a couple of times this summer.” – Joyce Laidlaw, Clarinet 

“Took a musical hiatus pursuing Covid safe activities. Ready to play and perform once again.” – Jeff Hogden, Tuba

“After playing violin for 14 years, I decided to take cello lessons! I started in May and it’s been very fun to learn the other side of the orchestra. This will be my first season playing violin with EMSO, but hopefully I’ll eventually be proficient enough that I could learn the cello parts too!” – Zarah Mamun, Violin

“My wife, Karen, and I have been doing quite a bit with music recently.  I’ve played in the U of MN Alumni Summer Band along with [fellow EMSO trumpeter] Kevin Mallery.  Karen and I also sang in a couple of Unexpected Company Concerts outdoors again – a local community chorus this past summer and we have begun rehearsals for a concert around Christmas.  I also play in a German town band, The Bavarian Music Meisters, that plays in a series of concerts during the Octoberfest season mostly outdoors. It takes some effort to rebuild my chops after minimal playing during the hiatus.  Our Barbershop choruses have been practicing on Zoom since late last year, and in person starting this spring, but we haven’t been going to many of their activities. My Chorus just put on a concert at Bethel, but I didn’t go. I had an outdoor German Band concert I participated in instead.  I’d rather play than sing.” – Jim McCarville, trumpet