The Webb community adapts to host a virtual art week

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Julia Patronite (‘21) practices and rehearses for the Mamma Mia video.

Bianca Arteaga, Staff Writer

Imagine sitting in Liu Cheung listening to the orchestra’s spring concert, enjoying live performances at Jubilee on Alamo lawn, walking through the art café to marvel at students’ impressive creations, or even celebrating with the “Mamma Mia!” actors after the musical. 

Although the community cannot experience these events in person, many are stepping up and working around this strenuous challenge to continue sharing art with the community. Many of these events were advertised on Instagram and through email, so students had the opportunity to check out student and faculty contributions. You can watch videos of many students playing their instruments, talented artists perform at Jubilee, the Mamma Mia actors sing and dance, or admire artwork created by students, so make sure to not overlook these “drawsome” editions. 

“Moving from an in-person performance oriented class to online, distance learning with individuals located all over the globe was very challenging for us,” said Kyle Champion, fine arts department faculty. “Since we could no longer meet together to prepare and perform, Mrs. Silva and I looked for ways to have the students continue to play their instruments. We created projects for them which would encourage them to pick up their instrument every day and play.”

Many students from the orchestra submitted videos of themselves playing the flute, violin, clarinet, french horn, and much more! Additionally, other members collaborated with the orchestra and submitted videos of themselves singing while playing the guitar or even submitting a “senior thoughts” video about how Webb guided them throughout their time in the program. 

The community not only had the chance to watch their friends perform through the orchestra, but also at Jubilee! Students who were interested in showing off their original music, dancing skills, and vocals performed on a Zoom call hosted by Jackson Malicay (‘21). Students watched their friends showcase their incredible talents and even got to witness the goofy side of some of their teachers, including Sarah Lantz, Hilary Barhydt, the Gerkens, and more faculty dancing to “Party in the U.S.A” by Miley Cirus. Michael Szanyi, Head of VWS Dorm Council, also played a key role in organizing.

“It was really fun hosting Jubilee,” said Jackson. “I got a lot of positive feedback from teachers and students and we really showcased the talent of our community and the perseverance and strength of the Webb community because we still did it!”

If you didn’t get the chance to see these talented acts, hopefully you got to see some clips of the spring musical, “Mamma Mia!” This popular spring musical caught the community’s attention and stirred up conversation. However, the pandemic caused the musical to be cancelled. This did not stop the cast from submitting videos of their dances and songs that would have been in the play. You can watch Joanna Yap (‘22) sing “I Have A Dream”, listen to Ariel Benjamin’s (‘20) senior thoughts, watch the cast perform to “Money” and “Voulez Vous”, and enjoy the compilation of the cast lip synching to “Mamma Mia!”

“Our contact has mainly been through email and zoom, so we met for what would have been our tech rehearsals to discuss how we could put together an online video with all of us singing the main number, ‘Mamma Mia,’ which Mr. Valdez put together,” said Ashley Munguia (‘21). “We recorded ourselves singing the song and just sent it to him to edit. 

Maya Jaffe (‘20) also compiled a video of most of us singing ‘Mamma Mia’ line by line, which also looked amazing! Playing Tanya was one of my dream roles, so I was crushed when I found out I would not be able to perform.”

If you have social media, you have probably heard of the instagram account @webbartclub. This account was created by students, and the goal was to find a way to showcase student artwork because art café could not take place on campus. The account displayed paintings, drawings, photographs, collages, and much more. What was unique about the account is that you did not have to be an art student to submit! Anyone was welcome to turn in their creations whether you take an art class at Webb or not. 

“We were unsure of what to do at first since art café was supposed to be that Friday before ❲school❳ shut down,” said Malika Neogi (‘20). “At first we wanted to do a website where people can log on and look at everything, but getting the link out was kind of confusing. Dr. Greco had the idea of creating an instagram to post all the artwork. 

Our original plan was to do seven posts a day, but so many people were submitting that we started posting per hour. We plan to keep the account so in future years, other people can view past artwork so it will be remembered.”

These events would not have been possible without communicating online. Using Zoom and other digital platforms, students, faculty, and staff can continue to develop ways to unite the Webb community. Although the transition from in-person events to online learning has been difficult for many, some students find it beneficial and allows them to learn in a different way.

“What I found most interesting about distance learning was how social distancing guidelines required me to learn how to analyze music and play my clarinet on more of an individual level,” said Arshia Sazi (‘22). “Without the additional sounds of the rest of the orchestra drowning out my clarinet, I was able to focus on my clarinet’s tone and articulation on an individual level. The required social distancing guidelines has allowed me to improve my ability to analyze music at an intricate level, and I would say that I have gained the same amount of musical knowledge as if playing with an in-person orchestra.”

The perseverance of the Webb community allowed students and faculty to show off their creativity and talents. The community did not “brush off” art related activities but, instead, worked together to unite as one and continued events that make Webb so unique.