In-person revival of the performance arts enlivens WC stage

By Lexi Meola
Elm Staff Writer

Performances have not graced the stages of Daniel Z. Gibson Center for the Arts at Washington College for a few semesters, at least not to the degree they did pre-pandemic.

The music, theater, and dance departments ceased in-person productions in March 2020 when the College shut down due to COVID-19.

Now that in-person clubs, student events, and classes returned to campus, so have performances.

The performing arts were always a large part of WC’s community, and students are excited to return to the stage.

Music major and junior Faithlin Hunter is looking forward to coming back to the stage for music and dance performances.

“While it was great being able to keep dancing, even virtually through the pandemic, there is no comparable feeling to being able to share a passion for dance with other people and be in the same space together,” Hunter said.

Hunter is a part of the Dance Club’s spring concert, which will be held on April 22 and 23. She is thrilled for people to see the dances.

“Having these performances return to WC is super important to build back the sense of community and connectedness that we lost over COVID-19. So many of us enjoy watching and supporting students through dance, music, and theater, and it helps to bring joy on campus,” Hunter said.

Hunter is not the only student finding joy in their return to the stage. Senior Maggie Poppiti is involved in theater, dance, and music at the College and was delighted to return to the stage in time for their senior thesis.

Poppiti performed their thesis in front of an audience on April 11, which would not have been possible during the COVID-19 shutdown.

“I am so glad I was able to perform in-person and everyone can be back in-person, because that is what theater and musical performances are all about,” Poppiti said.

According to Poppiti, performances and lessons were difficult to conduct virtually. They plan to see and perform in as many theater and music events as possible before the end of their senior year now that shows are back up and running.

I will perform in a choir concert myself on April 18, and I wholeheartedly agree that nothing beats being able to perform in the same room as others.

I recently sat in on a rehearsal for the theater and music department’s show, “Working,” which will be performed in Tawes Theatre on April 28, 29, and 30. It was clear to me how enthusiastic the performers are to be back in person working on a show together.

Musical Director Ernie Green was especially passionate about this during rehearsal. He expressed how ecstatic he is for the WC community to see “Working.”

“This cast is so talented and hardworking, I cannot wait for everyone to see your hard work,” Green said to the cast.

The performing arts help all WC students bond with one another, whether they are performers or viewers.

“The arts are always important; it is a really enriching type of experience. I think everyone should experience music, performing arts, visual arts, theater, and dance. Performing means a lot to many students around WC,” Poppiti said.

Hunter agrees with Poppiti about the importance of performing arts at WC.

“These creative media also provide an outlet for students as we continue to navigate through the uncertainty of the pandemic. Our performing arts get to portray emotions and feelings that otherwise might not be shared,” Hunter said.

The performing arts inspire creativity and strengthen community ties at WC. The revitalization of these programs in the wake of the pandemic is worth celebrating.

Photo by Paul W. Gillespie

Featured Photo Caption: Senior Lyra Abbott’s directing thesis, “God of Carnage,” was the first in-person theatrical performance put on at WC since students returned to campus in last spring.

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