Despite pandemic, Gwinnett middle school orchestra pulls off concert

Despite pandemic, Gwinnett middle school orchestra pulls off concert

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — In the music room at Osborne Middle School in Gwinnett County, a pandemic can be the ultimate sour note.

“At the beginning of the year we were all digital. I was wondering if we’d be able to do the concert,” cellist Emmy Queen said.

Emmy and her sister Ellie are members of the school’s 270 member orchestra. COVID cancelled their annual spring concerts, but conductor Carl Rieke was determined to present performances this fall.

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“I did lose a little sleep that week. Staying up and thinking about how it was going to happen,” Rieke said.

On the night of November 19th, half of the 7th and 8th grade musicians socially distanced at the school, while the other half played via video conference. Add in a little live stream, and you’ve got yourself a concert. “It just shows that no matter what’s going on, people will still come together,” cellist Bella Dimuzio said.

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It was a performance the musicians and their loved ones watching from home will never forget.

“I think we sounded great as an orchestra. It turned out really well,” violinist Pearl Yeboah said.

“There has to be that expression of why we come to school and we’re glad we did it,” principal Kenney Wells said.

Back in the music room, Emmy and Ellie Queen say it deserves an encore.

“Of course there were some out of tune notes. But it sounded really good,” Ellie said.

Osborne Middle School’s 6th grade orchestra will perform the same way next month.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Coronavirus Pandemic in Georgia]