How the Youth Symphony of Denton, Texas kept the music playing

Posted on: August 25, 2021

“The pandemic’s list of casualties could have easily claimed the Youth Symphony of Denton,” writes Lucinda Breeding in Monday’s (8/23) Denton Record-Chronicle (TX). “All manner of educational programming went online, and the places where children and teens gathered—schools, recreation centers, churches and gymnasiums—went dark. But … the symphony made a way for young musicians in middle and high school to rehearse together. The symphony also hosted its retreat last weekend at Camp Copass. ‘During COVID, we met all year,’ said symphony founder Damia Cleaver, who is one of the conductors. ‘We masked, had the chairs spaced out and each player had their own [music] stand instead of sharing.’… Wind and brass players had contraptions on the instruments to reduce the spread of aerosols. Flutists wore special face shields or fitted their instruments with small wind guards…. Cleaver said this is the group’s third season…. Young musicians said they stayed in the symphony through the pandemic—or joined last weekend during the retreat—to get more time to play their instruments, to study them with greater focus and to play in another ensemble outside of school.”