Is their life worth it?

Hola a todos. It was disturbing and concerning for me to see one of my favourite orchestras in the EU back to performing so soon (mid June 2020). They’ve uploaded 12 videos of pieces from their recent performances. Plenty of opportunities to get infected with COVID-19.

They are allowed to perform chamber orchestral music at this time, but no one was wearing face masks despite the continuing global pandemic where infection rates are soaring mostly all over el mundo/the world. I was just sitting here thinking: Is their life really worth it? Because even if they were all tested for COVID-19 at one point and tested “negative,” (was it a false “negative?”), someone could have been infected since then and spread it to all orchestral musicians. Did they socially-distance back stage without masks or stand talking to each other right beside one another? Did any of them inadvertently hug each other back stage?

Each violinist and violist had his/her own desk (music stand). It looked like the bass players were sharing a desk, but I’ll have to watch that again to confirm it. There were two cellists and they each had their own desk. Then I was a little confused because the principal flautist — who is always one of the two principal flautists of the Orchestra — was in the opposite place of where she’s supposed to be. She was second chair somehow. And the usual second chair was now principal. Not sure what was going on there. Or were they encouraged to sit where they want, spread out and mostly forget about “chairs.” One of the orchestra’s First Concertmasters was sitting in his correct place, so I don’t know what happened with the flute section. I didn’t count the number of musicians socially-distanced on stage but it was probably about 50 (no gatherings of 50 or more?) in this particular EU country. They performed to an empty Concert Hall and before their cameras.

I enjoyed their performance as I always do, but for me there was a sense of concern hanging over the performance and some really questionable — or stupid — decisions made by orchestral management to allow these performances to take place so soon.

Throughout the dis-United States, some people are finally waking up to the stupidity involved in opening up so soon when some of us were saying, “It’s too soon. What’s the rush to reopen and regret it?” And considering COVID-19 cases continue to rise in this particular EU country, and like most places, they rushed to reopen too quickly. The same thing that the dis-United States has done and now many states are pausing their stupid reopening or going back into some form of lockstep. Stupid is in.

I had read some comments made by orchestral musicians just a week or so ago concerned that their careers are over. One musician said that string musicians could wear face masks — no one was wearing masks in this performance I’m writing about — but the winds and brass musicians could not (for obvious reasons) and the same for Orchestra Choruses, as singing also spreads the virus.

So rather than feeling a sense of relief that these superb musicians were back to performing and being able to fully enjoy their performance as I always do, instead, I felt concerned for their health and safety, and who made these questionable decisions. But the few comments under the video that I watched, not one person mentioned anything about the pandemic, as if it doesn’t exist. I had considered writing a short version of this article in a comment under their videos, but I highly suspect such a comment would be deleted. They would not want to hear it — DENIAL? — or have their decisions questioned, so I didn’t bother.

And the question is: How many times will “we” have to mask and unmask, and mask and unmask, and mask and unmask before “we” finally get it right? Two years? Ten years? Chau.—el barrio rosa