COVID-19 Performance Restrictions Eased for Fall Jam


A cappella group Guacamole performs at Jam. Photo by Olivia Hoover

Nora Kapoor and Lauren Wu

This fall, Lexington High School’s choral program lifted the mask mandate for performers and increased the limit for audience members during shows. Performers were allowed to sing without masks as long as they were three feet apart, and audience members could sit next to one another given they were masked.

This regulation came into effect right before the Fall Jam, an a capella event on Dec. 4 that involved all eight of LHS’s active a capella groups. 

“Performers don’t have to wear a mask, but if they want to be close together, like a tight formation, they have to wear masks,” Medha Jayendran, a freshman in the a cappella group Onomatopoeia, said.

Jayendran emphasized the importance of being able to sing without a mask. 

“I feel like when you’re singing without the mask, a lot of things sound-wise will be more clear. And since we’re all more spaced out, that’s a different sound than if everyone’s close together,” Jayendran said.

Some performers are uncertain about the unmasking policy. 

“I think unmasking is something that can help with the timbre of our voice and the energy we bring, but at the same time, we have been doing rehearsals this entire time with masks, and we have engineered a sound that is decent in masks,” Zoe Zachary, a junior and member of a cappella group Noteworthy, said.

With Jam serving as a hallmark of the a cappella program, many students look forward to its return, especially in a relatively normal fashion given the updated COVID-19 restrictions.

“Jam is probably one of our biggest opportunities to showcase what we’ve been doing this whole time,” Zachary said. “It’s a bit more casual than chorus concerts… We can joke around, we can do funny things, we can really make it what we want it to be, and that’s an opportunity that you don’t really find in a lot of places,”

John DiPerna, technical director at LHS, cited the importance of being in-person given the live nature of a cappella performances.

“The energy inside the theater is electric,” DiPerna said. “Students supporting and encouraging their peers. Everything is free-flowing. I sang in a cappella groups in high school and college, so it makes me reminisce about my experiences, and I am elated to work in a community where the arts are alive and well and passed down generation after generation.”

The 2021 Fall Jam was not only the first Jam of the school year, but it also marked the first in-person Jam in approximately two years. For newer performers, this was their first in-person Jam and for veteran performers, this year’s Fall Jam was a return to live performing. 

“It’s really upsetting to think about how many in-person Jams we’ve missed, because [there are] three Jams per year, [and] this should, in theory, be my seventh in-person Jam, and it is my second,” Zachary said. “But it makes me all the more grateful that we can go back and be in person. There’s absolutely nothing like being able to sing live with an audience.”