Euphonics, Albion College’s a cappella group, is currently on pause due to COVID-19 restrictions on campus. While other clubs, organizations and sports are able to get together, Euphonics is a completely student-run organization, posing difficulties in their ability to sing together.
Due to organization restrictions under the Office of Campus Life, Euphonics has been indefinitely barred from in-person practices because the group contains more than ten people. While members have been able to meet online, they haven’t been able to prepare for their semester show, which has a possibility of being cancelled again.
“It can be really demoralizing for something that’s supposed to inspire passion and joy,” said Euphonics program director Caitlin Cummings, a junior from Gurnee, Ill.
Before arriving on campus last fall, Albion College President Mathew Johnson held a group meeting with the presidents of some organizations on campus. In that meeting, Cummings asked if Euphonics could meet as long as they followed the same rules as the music program. According to Cummings, Johnson agreed, but The Office of Campus Life later denied the request. Cummings said that the precautions the group planned to take were ignored.
“They did not care that we spent over $100 on different safety items. We printed out over 500 sheets of music, making sure everyone would have their own music. We used to not have paper at all. We used to just use the projector, but we wanted to socially distance properly, so we got binders and gave them out to every member,” said Cummings. “We made extra binders so that if anyone showed up without their binder they wouldn’t be sharing and standing next to someone. We ordered masks so that everyone would have a mask.”
The group practiced outside until it was too cold to do so. They began meeting virtually, but they were limited in how many things they could do with music. Lacking the technology to make any video compilations of members singing a cappella, the group used this time to bond by playing games, giving room tours and hanging out.
Although their face-to-face interaction is limited, the group values any time spent together.
“It’s a safe space,” said Grace VanDorn, a senior from Aurora, Ill. “We’re a very random group, and somehow we all fall into this little pile, and we get along really well.”
Looking into this semester, Euphonics hopes to put on a show in the spring, but until they’re allowed to meet, details remain uncertain. On their own, group members are unsure if they have the capacity to arrange a show.
Members of the group said that any possible show would need to be outside and therefore would require microphones and additional equipment. Although the group sees a possibility of having a show in Victory Park, that would require a permit from the city of Albion.
Next spring is the program’s 20th anniversary, and the group hopes to follow through with their original, pre-COVID-19 plans.
“We’ve been planning the 20th anniversary concert since my freshman year, and I have a lot of ideas,” said Cummings. “I really want to do a lot of stuff, but we just don’t know.”