Westbrook Music Building

The Westbrook Music Building, home of UNL’s Glenn Korff School of Music.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Glenn Korff School of Music is hosting their semi-annual ChamberFest, a collection of chamber performances, with a few COVID-safe alterations. 

The free, virtual event will be made up of three performances on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. The shows will be livestreamed on the School of Music’s website, and interested attendees can find the link on the UNL events page

According to India Enter, a junior music major, the three shows will feature performances from different chambers and small ensembles from the School of Music. 

“We have lots of music majors, performance majors and music education majors that form groups of chamber ensembles,” Enter said. “ChamberFest is the time that we get to all perform as a School of Music.”

Due to the pandemic, the chamber members are only allowed to play in the rooms for 30 minutes and then required to let the rooms air out for 30 minutes after. Because of this, Shannon Lotti, a graduate music student, said the show’s director, John Bailey, created a well-organized schedule. 

“We have all these new regulations where we can only be performing in the halls for 30 consecutive minutes and then everyone has to leave,” Lotti said. “There are two to three groups on every 30-minute segment, and Dr. Bailey set up this program where it’s a lot of similar instruments performing at the same time.”

Not only have these regulations caused struggles for the performance, but they have also challenged the performers throughout the preparation process. Enter said the time constraints have made it difficult for her chambers to find practice times and get to know one another.

“It’s made it harder to prepare,” Enter said. “One of my trios, we actually have to rehearse at one of their apartments, but we still wear masks and rehearse for just 30 minutes and then leave because we can’t get in Westbrook at the times we’re available. Chamber is one of my favorite outlets for cello, so it’s just been sad not being able to play with those groups of people as long or get to know them as well.”

Despite the challenges the chamber musicians have faced this semester, Enter said their continued effort proves their dedication.

“Chamber isn’t required,” Enter said. “So, you know that the people involved really want to be there and really want to keep performing even though there are these barriers put in place. But we all want to play with each other and have music in mind that we want to do outside of the practice room or outside of our other ensembles.”

Lotti said ChamberFest is a great opportunity for the community to see what the music school has worked on throughout the semester while enjoying a variety of instrumental music. 

“It’s just a really great opportunity to see what we’ve been working on this semester,” Lotti said. “There’s a lot of really cool music. There’s some work by living composers. My group is playing a piece by a female composer; we’ve been trying to play more from underrepresented groups of composers. It’s just a lot of good music, and we’ve put a lot of work into it.”