On March 18, Cal Poly Pomona President Soraya M. Coley circulated a university-wide email advising the school’s transition to virtual instruction would carry on through the remainder of the spring semester as a precautionary measure in response to the coronavirus pandemic. With this news came an increase in social distancing measures, and because of this, a number of theater and musical performances which were set to take place at Cal Poly Pomona throughout the semester were postponed indefinitely.
CPP’s Department of Theatre and New Dance had three upcoming plays which were postponed: “On the Verge,” which was set to take place March 20-21 and 26-29; “New Dance and New Music in Collaboration,” which was set to take place April 23 and 24; and the Student-Written Play Festival, originally scheduled for May 7-10.
Director for “On the Verge” and adjunct professor for the Department of Theatre and New Dance Michael Kachingwe is taking the postponement of the show in stride.
“Sometimes life changes direction in terms of what you need to focus on and prioritize, and although we are disappointed that we couldn’t get it in right now … it was better off to postpone the show than to perform it with no audience. So the opportunity was to hold off and then later, we would have an audience, which is better, and so there’s a silver lining in any kind of situation,” Kachingwe said.
Kachingwe said the performers, who had been rehearsing since Jan. 27, were understanding of the reasons for the postponement.
“(The performers) had put in a lot of work as well as the designers and everyone else who was part of the production team, so they were disappointed initially, but then again, there are bigger things happening in our lives right now that needed us to focus on, and having to postpone, not cancel, was a better approach than try to force something where we weren’t feeling necessarily all safe in regards to our health,” Kachingwe said.
CPP’s music department has also postponed all future performances indefinitely, including the Symphonic Winds ensemble, which played its first show March 10 and was scheduled to perform again May 6, and the Philharmonic Orchestra concert which was set for March 19.
Third-year history student London Rivera is an alto sax player and band manager for the Symphonic Winds ensemble.
“Being in a performance ensemble, it’s sad news to me to hear we will not play in front of a live audience this semester, and I will not be able to see many of the faces in the band in person for the rest of the semester,” Rivera said. “I am comforted by the fact that many other band students in colleges across the United States are going through this like us and are rallying together.”
Alex Barajas, a fourth-year music education student and percussionist for CPP’s Philharmonic Orchestra, was saddened by the news of the concert’s postponement. Barajas mostly depends on the school’s equipment and was anticipating being able to utilize it a few times a week before the school decided to switch to a solely virtual mode of instruction.
“It was quite a bit of not just frustration, but sort of you know, a bit of sadness because it’s not just our concerts were canceled, it’s just … I can’t really play music for a month or so. So what I’m doing for a living, I can’t do for a month,” Barajas said.
As of now, there have been no new dates set for the performances.
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