Campus News

Students Stay Connected to Community Organizations Remotely

March 30, 2020

Hillary Hempstead

male student sitting with a tuba and smiling.
While off campus, Alec Rich ’20 stays connected to the Oberlin community through his work with Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Alec Rich ’20

With students taking classes remotely due to the COVID-19 global health crisis, some are also finding ways to maintain the connections they have formed in the Oberlin community. 

Both the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra (NOYO) and the Neos Center for Dance/Neos Dance Theatre are continuing to work with students in the Bonner Center for Community-Engaged Learning, Teaching, & Research’s Community-Based Work-Study Program. The work, which would normally happen on campus, is taking place remotely. 

Instead of working with students one-on-one, seniors Alec Rich and J Holzen will each lead a virtual Q&A session with NOYO students, where they will offer advice on how to prepare for a career as a musician.

Senior J Holzen performs on stage with Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra students.
Senior J Holzen performs on stage with Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra students. 
Photo courtesy of J Holzen ’20.

Colin Holter, executive director of the NOYO, says the online sessions address a need for students to learn from musicians such as Rich and Holzen. Topics of discussion will include how to prepare for an audition, ways to get ready for studying music in college, and what goes into renting and maintaining instruments.

“NOYO students will be able to ask me questions about audition preparation, specifically my experience with auditioning for college, but also at a professional level,” says Rich, a tuba performance major. “That being said, it will be an open format, so I'll take questions as they come up and do my best to help everyone.”

While on campus, first-year Sarah Liberatore worked with the Neos Center for Dance/Neos Dance Theatre as part of the Community-Based Work-Study Program. Liberatore’s work with the group will continue through a remote research project that will focus on building the organization’s modern/contemporary dance curriculum. Then, she’ll create a curriculum for three levels of classes to be used at Neos in the fall. 

According to Neos Director of Education and Outreach Gwen LeBar Feldman, the organization has also launched online classes to keep their students learning and dancing at home. Liberatore will be recording a tap dance step of the week for the fundamental-level dancers.

First-year Sarah Liberatore stands on a tree stump in a ballet pose.

First-year Sarah Liberatore will continue working with Neos Center for Dance/Neos Dance Theatre through a remote research project. Photo courtesy of  Sarah Liberatore ’23

“Being connected to Oberlin means something a bit different right now since I'm not physically there, but I'm really excited to be able to support Neos and their young dancers both in the current unusual moment and looking toward future terms,” says Liberatore. 

During this time of uncertainty in the world, cello performance major Holzen says that being able to stay connected to the community and NOYO is important. 

“Outside of performing, teaching is my biggest passion. I'm very grateful that, despite the unprecedented circumstances of this school year, I'm still able to provide guidance to my students. Any amount of normalcy we can hold onto during this uncertainty is incredibly valuable.”

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