Fine Arts from a Distance bY Nora Raasch

When the Mequon-Thiensville School District transitioned to online learning in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, not only were academics and athletics affected, but so were fine arts programs. Opening night for the spring play, “She Kills Monsters,” was set for April 24, but instead the Performing Arts Center was dark that night.

Photo credit: The Homestead High School Drama Club Facebook page

“The fine arts department has definitely been dealt a huge blow by school being online and by the cancelling of extracurriculars; ‘She Kills Monsters’ is not only a very beautiful play, but it also contains really important messages and pieces of social commentary, and to not be able to perform and share that like we were planning has been hard,” Kaet Sisney, junior, cast in the role of Kaliope, said.

Photo credit: The Homestead High School Drama Club Facebook page

“I feel like the coronavirus has affected the fine arts department within Homestead like it has all of the other departments—by creating a lot of distance,” Blair Martin, sophomore, said.

Submitted by Blair Martin

Many of the students at Homestead involved in the fine arts are trying to cope with the loss of what they love to do by remembering why they started.

“Having to cancel all our scheduled spring band, orchestra, choir and theater performances has definitely made us really sad, but not disheartened. If anything, it made us all remember why it is we perform in the first place, why we open our hearts to the arts and share them with others,” Sisney said.

Submitted by Chloe Diamond

“Corona has taken away what is usually the most meaningful time for theater students. We are completing our show season with a spring show and then we have our big PATS awards ceremony where we award actors and actresses for their performances as well as stage managers and so on. We don’t get to fully complete the season without the awards ceremony. This ceremony is big to theater students because it’s like a last hurrah for everyone in the Drama Club,” Chloe Diamond, sophomore, said.

Submitted by Chloe Diamond

Diamond had a lead role in both “She Kills Monsters” and the winter musical “Big Fish” - earning her a nomination for a PATS award. Sisney is also up for a PATS award for her performance in "Big Fish."

Photo credit: The Homestead High School Drama Club Facebook page

Like the PATS awards being the capstone of the theater season, one of the highlights of the band and orchestra season is the Wisconsin School Music Association Solo & Ensemble Festival. Due to the Safer At Home order, this year’s Solo & Ensemble Festival was held virtually. Students were required to record their solo performances and submit online.

To prepare and keep in practice, students have been putting their time at home to good use. Even with the loss of the formal program, students are still finding ways to stay in touch and practice what they love to do.

“Drama Club has been trying to stay super active and has gotten together over Zoom multiple times to play games, work out together, do crafts, or just spend time together,” Julia Rowe, junior, vice president of the Drama Club, said.

Submitted by Julia Rowe

“Many of us try to stay connected, but it isn't the same as making music, creating, or acting with other people nearby. I think it's important for all arts kids to keep doing what they love and keep hoping that we will be together soon,” Amelia Eichmeier, freshman, said.

Photo credit: The Homestead High School Drama Club Facebook page

Seniors Gabi Martin and Ethan Schlesinger have been involved in fine arts programs since they were freshmen. This isn’t how they envisioned their last trimester, but they’re trying to make the best of it.

“It’s definitely not the same because performing arts, both orchestra and theater, are all about interacting with other people,” Martin said.

Photo credit: The Homestead High School Drama Club Facebook page

“Re-creating that enriching and special environment from the comfort of our homes is super hard. It won’t ever be the same, but in these moments of struggle and hardship, we realize that the people make the place,” Schlesinger said.


Submissions from Chloe Diamond, Blair Martin and Julia Rowe - Other photo credit: The Homestead High School Drama Club Facebook page