Bernhard Music Center Open!
This fall, Williams students returned to a very different campus than the one we returned to a year ago. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and because the health and safety of students, staff, and faculty is a primary concern, the Music Department has had to scale back and modify its normally active concert and ensemble schedule, while still preserving its core teaching and performance mission. Consequently, our large ensembles—the Berkshire Symphony, the Wind Ensemble, the Jazz Ensemble, the Concert Choir—have had to go on hiatus for the time being. A number of our smaller ensembles, however, continued to meet in person in socially-distanced rehearsals, others met entirely virtually, and some held a combination of virtual and in-person meetings. The Williams Percussion Ensemble, I/O New Music, and Zambezi Marimba Band, met as usual; we expanded the number of Small Jazz Ensembles to accommodate students seeking jazz performance opportunities, and we expanded our Chamber Music offerings for string, woodwind, brass, and keyboard players seeking ensemble performance opportunities. A new string ensemble, Cello Shots, joined the department this semester as an affiliated student group. Chinese Music Ensemble and Virtual Gospel Choir ran remotely, and a new virtual choir - the Virtual Choir of Williams, or V-CoW - provide opportunities for collaborative vocal performance.
Students seeking individual instruction in voice or instruments found the same opportunities to receive fully subsidized lessons as they would in any year, although some lessons (depending on the studio) were offered remotely, or in a combination of remote and in-person instruction. All music students still have access to the practice rooms, but with new cleaning and room-usage protocols in place to minimize the risk of virus transmission.
Unfortunately, like all campus buildings, the Music Building is closed to the public, and our public concert schedule has been suspended. However, we are hosting live-stream student performances. Sign up for our newsletter for updates and announcements about these events.
You can find general information about building policies and music-specific protocols on our FAQ page. We will update the page as policies evolve, so continue to check back for the latest information.