Winter Concert canceled as COVID-19 cases surge in NYC

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Earlier today, plans for live Winter Concert performances were cancelled in response to rising COVID-19 cases.

The concert was supposed to be held on Wednesday evening, with a second live-streamed mini-concert to be held the day after. 

The decision to cancel the concert was based on many factors, according to music teacher Kevin Heathwood. He said, “It was a conversation between myself and the administration that had been talked and mentioned last week…and then last night, we started having more serious talks about it as the hard numbers [showed] that there were positive cases and cases were going up in the school community. This morning was when we were making the call.” 

He added, “I had told the jazz band during zero band, and then we had a follow-up meeting with the principal and a bunch of the assistant principals formulated and got everybody on the same page as the word was getting out…the final decision was in my fourth band this morning, but we kind of already knew where we were going before that.”

At 1:05 p.m. today, Principal Brian Condon sent out an email that officially announced the change. He wrote, “Out of an abundance of caution, and in light of a recent increase of COVID positive cases in our school building, I regret to inform you that we will be canceling our live, in-person performance of our annual Winter Concert. The performance will be recorded and available via our YouTube channel. We will make the link available to all members of our community.” 

Senior and Vice President of Hawkapella Marykate Wee said, “I feel disappointed and also scared since this last minute cancellation feels very familiar. Hopefully the break simmers down the situation so when we come back, things will be better.”

Senior and Tech Squad Leader Saad Ahmed said, “I’m definitely sad that the winter concert was canceled, everyone worked so hard for it. But it’s completely justified given the rise in COVID cases.”

Junior and Chamber Strings student Lana Yepifanova said, “I was so disappointed that they canceled the winter concert. I was really looking forward to playing the Demon Slayer duet with my partners.”

Sophomore and Jazz Band/Wind Ensemble student Kaylah Rouzier said, “I honestly wasn’t expecting [the cancellation of the Winter Concert] to happen, especially after we had managed to successfully pull off a big production like S!NG. I was and still am pretty upset about it. Last year, all of our performances were remote except for graduation, but even that had its limits. I was looking forward to a real in-person concert and being able to experience it properly for the first time [at THHS].”

Sophomore and Modern Band student SnehaShree Paul said, “I was really excited, I practiced a lot but I knew I had to practice a lot more to be able to perform live. Everyone was really excited about dressing up and so was I. It’s not everyday that you get to dress up as a punk rock artist.”

World languages and chorus teacher Dr. Mariko Sato Berger said, “The COVID situation worsened rapidly in the past weeks, so it is a wise decision to cancel in-person performances. I only regret that I didn’t make a nice video earlier. I feel sorry for the students and teachers who worked hard for the performances, but our health comes first.”

Mr. Heathwood said, “It breaks my heart that all the hard work the students have done cannot be displayed in a public performance, but we are fortunate enough to have been able to record the performances so they can still be presented and shared.”

In an interview with The Classic, Mr. Condon said, “The last thing I want is someone contracting a positive case in that auditorium and then going home and spending time with their families. Even this last weekend, people had holiday parties and got together and socialized more [than last year].”

Additional Reporting by Matthew Merino, Accuracy Editor

Photo by Matthew Merino