5/24/2020

🌻Dear friend of Opus,

COVID-19 UPDATE: good news and a new perspective.

We at Opus Ithaca are sincerely grateful for our wonderful students and our supportive community. You have once again proven that music heals, and that music provides solace during the most critical moments in history. While we are devastated about the toll COVID-19 is taking on so many areas of our lives (the economy, the harsh reality of the virus itself) and in the arts (loss of live performances and music making with others)-moments of beauty keep shining through our community over these months. You do not have to look very hard to find it.

When we started this “VIRTUAL” journey at Opus in March, worry and fear filled our days about how we would keep our teachers working, and how we would survive as a music school.  A “re-imagining”was necessary for Opus- one that I, personally, was not excited about. The natural methods of communication that music provides had new barriers -synchronized time, flawed wifi, technological imperfections and well, distance. We were unsure how we would be able to make a difference as teachers. We were unsure we could still help our students progress. HOWEVER:

I have been amazed time and again at how we have managed to connect with each other through this time of social distancing and quarantine- through all of the fear and the unknown. Many parents have told me how valuable the consistency of lessons has been for their kids during this time. Adults, too! Our students have been working hard, and many are sounding better than ever. Our faculty has learned so much about technology, and they try to make their teaching better every day. Thank you for diving in, and giving this a go. While experiencing lessons and classes “on-line” is not our first choice, we have been delighted at how well it is working.

SINCE MARCH 2o20:

I have seen proud videos posted on social media of student achievements.

I have seen Opus Piano Fest succeed and SHINE! Bravo to everyone who participated 🙂

I have seen video adjudications offered to keep our students motivated- with friends helping friends hearing each other’s studios.

I have seen virtual choir videos from the Odyssey Choir- where kids and adults are STILL lifting their voices together. (And several other songs are planned next month- stay tuned!)

I have seen countless communications of advice among our faculty- helping each other achieve more successes, sharing ideas and concepts.

I have seen generosity from our donors- helping students in need during this time. (Thank you!) This not only helps our students, but also helps keep our teachers teaching.

I have seen creative ideas flowing to keep Opus alive this summer and into the fall- as we continue into the unknown future.

I have seen high school seniors get into excellent college music programs (congrats!!), during the hardest semester of their lives. 

I have seen students perform beautifully in “Zoom” recitals!

I have seen HOPE- alive and well. 

I have seen that Opus is not actually about our building and our physical space- but it is indeed about the PEOPLE: students, families, faculty, and friends. The music that binds us together is STILL present.

 

We will continue to work together to get through this hard time. We are growing, and we are learning new things along the way- about music, and about humanity.

I miss you all SO much. I look forward to being in our space again- hearing all the beautiful sounds of our collective music making. But for now- I am so immensely grateful that we can keep making music as individuals. I am immensely thankful for our faculty who are so gifted, kind, and creative. We are so lucky.

Keep on shining, Opus. Looking forward to the other side of this…

Sincerely,

Dr. Andrea Merrill (Andi)

Executive Director and proud founder of Opus Ithaca

_____________________________________

PREVIOUS LETTER:

3/17/2020

🌻 Dear friends in the Opus Community,

Due to the effects of COVID-19 sweeping through our world, Opus Ithaca has suspended all of our group classes and ensembles for the time being. This includes any class over 2 people, with a few exceptions of video groups lessons run by some teachers. It is the right thing to do…we must participate in social distancing for a while- and we want everyone to be safe.

We are keeping as many one-on-one lessons going as possible!  🎶

Video teaching is possible for MOST of our teachers, and we encourage as many students to continue working with your teachers if it is possible. Our kids (and adults!) need some consistency and positivity right now-  making music is more important than ever.  AND- our teachers need to work, so it is a win for everyone. Many methods of video lessons are possible. Please contact your teacher to find out their plans.

If your income is negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and you are struggling to pay for lessons, please let us know at info@opusithaca.org. We may be able to offer temporary scholarships to get you through this time- which in turn would keep your teacher working.

I have been truly grateful for so many of our Opus family reaching out to help each other, our teachers, our students, and the school. Thank you. Your support means the world to me, and to Opus.

This is a surreal experience. Let’s all do the best we can- day by day.
And keep making music. Listen to your favorite songs. A lot.

Our spirits need it right now. 💛

Hang in there, everyone. Looking forward to the other side of this- where hugs and choral singing are possible again-

Sincerely,

Dr. Andrea Merrill

Executive Director of Opus Ithaca