When Wanda Cook, the founding artistic director of the Young Artists Conservatory of Music (YACM) at 500 Davis Street in Vacaville, got back into her office in June after being shut down for COVID, she was amused to see the message on the whiteboard in the main hall.
It read, “Classes are suspended for two weeks.” That was back in March.
“Wow, that’s what we really thought,” she reflected. “We were struggling with how to produce our events with two weeks less of rehearsals.”
As with everybody else, that two weeks stretched into four months. The school’s production of West Side Story, Aladdin (the musical), the annual Black Tie Gala Concert and six all-school recital concerts had to be shut down, as did the conservatory’s programs in the Vallejo school district serving 1,500 at-risk youth. COVID-19 also closed down the program’s Solano Youth Chamber Orchestra, three A cappella groups and in-person private lessons for more than 150 students.
Fortunately, the school was able to offer online lessons in lieu of in-person. But it was a challenge, especially at the outset.
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