Recent COVID Impacts on Newman Arts

In the days after August 20th there was a new wave of Covid cases among both staff and students, especially affecting the Arts side of Newman life. The teachers of the Newman Band and Chorus, Mr. “B” Bayardelle and Mrs. Rehner fell ill and stayed home over the weeks prior to the writing of this article. The absence of teachers from band and chorus has significantly affected Cardinal Newman’s arts. 

The chorus had a recent wave of absences and stretches of online learning among both Chorus-I and Chorus-II, with most of the freshman missing in Chorus-1. A pre-scheduled “Chorus hangout”, designed to integrate new freshmen and get them used to singing, was cancelled due to the lack of freshmen able to participate because of Covid. The hangout was originally meant to be on August 13th. Since Ms. Rehner, the instructor, was absent during the weeks in late August and early September, students still in class were diverted into other classrooms and the class temporarily served as a free period. As of September, the chorus classes have had good attendance, with most of each class being present in person. Ms. Rehner has since began teaching virtually via Zoom and various teachers have been brought in to substitute and supervise the chorus students. As of the writing of this article, there has been technical difficulties, but the Mass on September 10th turned out well even without a regular instructor, and Bishop Barbarito commented that it was “the best performance he’s seen this month.” The situation continues to develop as the Chorus begins Christmas songs. 

The band instructor Mr. Bayardelle has since returned to school on September 13th, and described the effects of his absence on the Newman band in an interview on September 15th. He said that the band was “not able to establish any fundamentals or pieces going to be done” for the school year, leaving the class behind already at the very start of the year. According to him, around 5-10% of the band goes in and out in a sort of rotation from being sick. During his absence, the band did not practice any music but still came during the class periods to the portable. A substitute was in place to

monitor, but without Mr. B himself the class is not able to effectively learn music. There were no Zoom meetings for online learning as well. The class itself has around twenty people, and last year they had only three performances. The “lack of continuity” has affected the band severely, however as Mr. B has returned he has plans to bring the class back into shape. 

Student life overall has faced challenges from Covid. Time will tell if the situation will improve.