School is resuming. Broadway tours are being announced. The late-night talk shows have live audiences again, and concert venues around the country have tickets on sale for the upcoming season. Flights are full. People are getting together with relatives again. Lessons are far more often face-to-face rather than over Zoom, and PASIC will be live and in person in November of this year.
Strangely though, several things feel far from normal. Many across the country who had expectations of ditching masks by July 4th are once again being asked to put them on at work, at school, and at sporting events. School districts in some states have gone back, at least in part, to virtual learning, and a number of high-profile artists have cancelled tours that were scheduled for this fall. Countless numbers of music educators at all levels are faced with once again reevaluating how performances will be held in the coming semester, and the “Upcoming Events” column for the R!S Blog is conspicuously absent for yet another month.
Yet we, the percussion and larger music community, continue forward. In unprecedented times that seem strangely precedented, we are finding new ways to reinvent percussion performance, percussion education, and percussion activities in our community. This is unfortunate, but not unnoticed. It is frustrating, but not fruitless. The creativity and determination of our friends and colleagues realized in virtual clinics, YouTube concerts, Zoom panels, and online workshops has demonstrated another application of the same flexibility we ask of ourselves when we play a marimba recital one night and a drum set gig with a cover band the next. Never tell percussionists they can only do one thing or do something one way; we will prove your wrong every time. It’s not easy, but at this point in time, it is necessary.
I applaud the efforts of our percussion community, and I encourage your continued resilience. Press on to find new ways to bring what we do to people in our community and students who want to learn. Endure to explore whatever safety measures are possible or virtual outlets are open so as to inspire a new generation once again to pursue and elevate the percussive arts. Support each other, share your events — virtual or live — on social media and on the PAS events calendar, and I hope to see you at PASIC!