BAR HARBOR — During their last two years of school, this year’s graduating class experienced new frontiers while navigating a global pandemic. Performing arts, athletics and academics all took on a different look, with many things taking place virtually or in a different format than previous years throughout the first half of the year.
“We had a non-traditional year this year,” said music director Michael Remy, in an email to the Islander. “It was a weird year, but one of the best years of teaching I’ve ever had.
“Since the pandemic put instrumental and vocal music on hold entirely, we transitioned to a one-on-one lesson program where every member of the program took a lesson with me (or Bronwyn, or both) once a week. We had lecture style classes on Mondays and Fridays and would meet in person out on the football field on Wednesdays. We stopped Wednesday practices in November when the kids’ instruments started to freeze shut. It was such a blessing to have the opportunity to work with each student independently each week.”
Even when things began to change, the shift went slowly. Many students competed in regional and state competitions virtually, some earning awards in their categories.
“In February, the restrictions shifted, allowing indoor playing with special masking, which was on backorder until just after spring break,” Remy continued. “From the last week of April until now, we’ve transitioned to playing indoors again, which has been just incredible.
“Because of the flexibility in the scheduling, we offered a lot of stuff – recording projects, songwriting, drumline, improvisation classes, music technology, beat making, sampling, composition, music appreciation, etc. Some students took this as a time to learn new instruments too.”
As the school year ended, students were able to perform an ode to the Bard of Avon with “Lend Us Your Ears: MDI Drama Presents Scenes from Shakespeare” on an outdoor stage with the public in attendance. Students wore masks, but they have been used to doing that all year when meeting and working in person.