SIDNEY — As the coronavirus pandemic continues, those pursuing the arts have had to get creative about how they practice and rehearse.

On Saturday at the Snow Pond Center for the Arts, the Kennebec Valley Youth Symphony Orchestras gathered for performances in Alumni Hall. In total, 33 students make up the group, split between the Kennebec Valley Youth Orchestra and the Kennebec Valley Youth Symphony. Students between elementary, middle and high school ages performed.

Because of coronavirus safety guidelines, an audience was not allowed, though a videographer had been hired to record and put together a video to be presented at 7 p.m. June 5 on Facebook.

“We’ve been virtual for over a year,” said Gina Post, president of the KVYSO board of directors. “Even over a year ago, rehearsals and so forth have been over Zoom, and then in-person with distancing just with the students. We’ve been able to use Zoom for everything. We’re happy to be in-person, even though the audience is limited.”

She added that in-person rehearsals began in the fall at East Winthrop Baptist Church, where the group was able to rehearse while masked and following appropriate distancing guidelines. During pre-pandemic years, the groups have typically rehearsed at the University of Maine at Augusta.

Beginning at 10:30 a.m., Kennebec Valley Youth Orchestra kicked off the morning with performances of “Rustic Concerto” in G Major, composed by Antonio Vivaldi and “Game of Thrones Theme,” composed by Ramin Djawad. The group is directed by Daniel Keller.

Following the KVYO performance, the KVYS took the stage, performing “The Four Seasons,” composed by Antonio Vivaldi. Soloists for each season include Catherine Estes, Aidan Montmeny, Sophia Scheck and Joshua Rosenthal. The group was directed by Jinwook Park.

“The four soloists of Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ have worked so hard and are playing with such passion and beauty,” said Betsy Kobayashi, education director of the KVYSO.

Kobayashi added that a similar performance was held last November.

Because of the pandemic, Post added that donations have been hard to get as they typically keep a donation jar at the entrance of each venue during concerts. Concerts have been canceled, which means donations are not coming in as much.

“We count a lot on donations as a nonprofit, and we count a lot on the donations at the door,” Post said. “There have been three seasons now where we have not received donations at the door. As we’re looking at building our budget for next year, that’s something that we’re hoping to gain back.”

The organization has also been able to secure a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

“The grant through the Maine Arts Commission, that’s been wonderful,” Post added.

For rehearsals, groups gathered once a week in a socially distanced space with fans on, doors and windows open and masks. Beforehand, a form is sent home to confirm that the student participating is not showing any signs of COVID-19. However, the pandemic has offered a new way of providing education and rehearsal space remotely.

If a student is not feeling well, quarantined or cannot make it to an in-person rehearsal, they are able to Zoom in, Post said. Though not being in-person won’t allow them to perform with the group, they are able to take notes and play along with their microphone muted.

“If students can’t make it, we ask them to join the Zoom link. They can hear, they can participate remotely and they can get the notes,” Post said.

Auditions for the KVYO will be held June 15; KVYS auditions will be held June 22. More information on the auditions can be found online.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.