Monthly Archives: October 2020

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October 2020 Newsletter

Welcome back to in person learning for many of our students. I know that many of us had developed routines that are now altered, but I can honestly say that it has been great to begin making music in person again. I think there is a marked difference in how students are preparing now that we can perform together. I think that we can all use this experience to become better musicians.

As always, one of the primary concerns for our time together is that students are healthy and safe. With that in mind the district has developed some guidelines for rehearsals and performances:

Dear Lake Zurich Families:

In order to make band, choir, and orchestra as meaningful as possible, District 95 will be working in accordance with the Illinois Interim COVID-19 Music Guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). Lake Zurich High School, Middle School North, and Middle School South will be following the protocols outlined below:

Face Coverings

Persons playing instruments in orchestra, band, or general music settings, singing in choir or other lessons, dancing, participating in color guard, or teaching will wear a washable or disposable, multi-layered face covering or mask. Students who play wind instruments can use face coverings with a slit. Face coverings should only be removed while outdoors when social distance is maintained.

Social Distancing

A minimum distance between singers and/or instrumentalists of 6 feet side-to-side will be maintained. For larger instruments that have an increased likelihood to create a higher quantity and size of liquid droplets and aerosols (e.g., trombones), a minimum distance of 9 feet front-to-back is recommended.

Hand Hygiene

Emphasis will be placed on hygiene and frequent hand washing. Alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60% alcohol will be available. Soap and water will also be available for cleaning hands.  At a minimum, sanitation and hygiene will be performed before and after contact with surfaces and equipment.

Shared Instruments or Other Shared Objects

All programming will avoid sharing instruments, sheet music, music stands, and other commonly shared equipment. If students should have their own set of equipment (e.g., flags, mallets, and drumsticks) they will be provided the materials to clean and disinfect them. If instruments or equipment must be shared (e.g., keyboard instruments and drums), they will be cleaned and disinfected between students. Music reeds and mouthpieces will not be shared. Multiple receptacles will be placed in rooms so students can empty and clean reeds safely.

Instrument Covers

Instruments will be fitted with bell covers consisting of a minimum of two layers of dense fabric. Bell covers will be made of a non-stretchy material with a MERV-13 rating (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) to protect against bacteria and virus particles.  District 95 has purchased bell covers for students and will provide them upon receipt.

What does that mean for orchestra? Luckily for us playing a string instrument does not involve spreading extra aerosols like singing or playing a wind instrument. In orchestra we will follow all the above guidelines. I wanted to highlight some orchestra specific practices that we are instituting:

  1. No students will share an instrument. There are enough celli and basses that all students who are in person will have their own instrument. All the instruments have rehaired bows and have been fixed so that they are in good playing conditions.
  2. As of right now we will have concert recordings without audiences. These recordings will be open to all students, however students who have selected to participate in e-learning will be offered other performance opportunities. I will provide specific information as the opportunities arise. See specific news information below for the Symphony Orchestra rehearsal next week.

Above all we are working to normalize the orchestra experience including setting up microphones so that students at home can sit in and play along with their peers as we rehearse.

If you have any questions regarding our practices, or about anything else please feel free to reach out.

As always that you for your support of orchestra at LZHS,

Nathan Sackschewsky

LZHS Orchestra Director


  1. Symphony Performance Recording Session: Symphony will have a recording session on Wednesday 10/21 from 3:30-4:30 in the PAC. I will send out a specific email about dress and arrival instructions on Thursday, 10/15. If you have not already done so, please fill out the intent to participate form.
  2. ILMEA audition videos are due on by 8:00 on 10/14. Please email your YouTube link to Mr. S
  3. Sinfonietta audition information has been posted in Canvas announcements. Students will audition by video submission this year. Calendar dates and audition information can be found on the registration form
  4. The annual concerto competition will take place on Monday, November 30th. Students will audition live over zoom. For more information please visit the concerto competition page. Interested students should submit the registration form.