WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — For the first time in nearly seven months, the Wichita Falls Youth Symphony Orchestra finally performed Thursday night.
A few months ago the orchestra’s executive director began brainstorming how Woodwinds and Brass performers could return to the stage while also wearing masks, and to make that happen, it took a clever idea.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused leaders of performing arts groups to get creative, and Wichita Falls Youth Symphony Executive Director Jean Hall had to figure out how.
They created special masks for their students to use while performing. Despite having to wear masks, Hall said her students are glad to be back doing what they love.
“I’m a seamstress, and my sister is also a seamstress, and we are both musicians,” Hall said. “We said, ‘we can design something that works for us’, so we collaborated on that and came up with a few designs,” Hall said. “We went to a few local musicians and that led to faculty member, and we asked can you help us test these [masks].”
After looking at different patterns, Hall needed up making her first prototype, and after two attempts, two different designs were selected.
Woodwind masks have pleated horizontal openings and brass masks have vertical opening in the center of the mask for their mouthpieces.
“We have one that’s for woodwinds and one that’s for brass instruments because they have different shapes of mouth pieces, so we came up with these two designs and produced enough for all of our students,” Hall said. “I think they were a little surprised at first, but the reaction has been really positive the kids are happy to be back together in person creating music together.”
Hall said these masks comply with suggestions from the National Federation of State High School association, so she hopes her creation will led to another successful season.
The concert was Thursday afternoon.