Updated: Apr 26
by Jeffrey Fulmer
For those of you who don’t know me (which is probably most of you), I’m Jeffery, a fellow music lover and bassist, who was, up until very recently, the intern here at NCMC; but I am now working at the Center for the summer as an Administrative Assistant.
My time at NCMC is unique. I became an intern here in February of 2020, and just as I was beginning to get a handle on being in the building and all of its various happenings, the pandemic hit and there was no longer anybody in the building, or any happenings. I have also just graduated from Hampshire College, so probably won’t have the chance to see the building return to “normal” anytime soon.
Despite that, I have been able to get a pretty good sense of what goes on here, and the type of impact the Center has on the lives of its students. Right before the pandemic started, I was able to play the bass with the amazing students of the Jazz Ensemble, and help out with a couple of recordings. I also got to help out with a workshop in which some adorable younger students made instruments out of everyday objects. I’ve additionally been a part of some remote video projects made during the pandemic, working on this past October’s “Spooky Suzuki” video, a video with the New Horizons band, and additional work with the Youth Jazz Ensemble recording and assembling stems to create a complete piece of music, despite none of us rehearsing or hearing each other's performances.
These past few months I was in charge of a project that was an experiment in beginning to make live music again. It was called the “Driveway Choir” and was a way for vocal groups to get together and begin to sing together again, in a fashion. It’s named such because every vocalist stayed in their car in the parking lot of the Center, and through using wireless equipment could talk to each other and sing together in real time while remaining socially distanced. It was my job to get all the equipment together and set up, and to monitor everything to have it go as smoothly as possible. While there were a few hiccups here and there, it was a blast hearing live ensembles again. It was very clear from monitoring these rehearsals that the impact it had on the participants was immeasurable. After being isolated for so long and not knowing what the future would hold, being away from people they had sung together with for years, and now having the ability to communicate again, to make music and sing, was something that the participants were immensely grateful for. It really was a watershed moment of the pandemic beginning to lighten, and for the joy and community that had been so present at NCMC in years past really begin to come back again.
Through experiences like these, it has become clear that despite the difficulties felt by all throughout this past year, the NCMC community has not lost its love for music. With new projects and inventive ways of interacting with each other, there is always something engaging and musical going on. It has been great working with members of the various ensembles (albeit in a limited fashion), and to see how much fun everyone involved in these projects has had, and the ways people are able to connect again and how much they appreciate that opportunity. The passion the NCMC community has for making music and being together in whatever form that takes, and taking all of the hurdles that pop up in stride, has really been inspiring.
Even though my time here has been a little different, it has been an eye-opening experience. While it might be from a bit of a distance, I get to see the awesome impact NCMC has on the lives of its students, and the passion with which the students engage with the music, which is something special and I’m grateful to be a part of.