Glenbrook Symphony Orchestra divides


The GBN Symphony Orchestra practices in the CPA lobby instead of the usual orchestra room due to safety precautions. Orchestra directors Rachel Atlas and Aaron Kaplan divided GSO into two groups to maintain social distancing. Photo by Saruul-Erdene Jagdagdorj

Prior to the pandemic, senior Milena Savic would typically walk into rehearsals for Glenbrook Symphony Orchestra, also known as GSO, after getting food with friends, excited and energized to play with other musicians. As she entered the orchestra room, she joined more than 100 players warming up, eating snacks and socializing with one another and the conductors.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this level of close proximity is no longer possible, resulting in the shift to two separate groups.

GSO comprises students from Glenbrook North and Glenbrook South.

According to orchestra director Aaron Kaplan, separating GSO was necessary to follow social distancing guidelines because there is not a space at either school where 160 people can rehearse safely.

“We’re still in the middle of the pandemic,” said Kaplan. “This is the way [GSO] needs to function this year so we can make sure that everyone stays safe.”

“We’re taking all the precautions that we need, and I think everyone’s excited to be making music with other people,” Kaplan said.

According to orchestra director Rachel Atlas, the repertoire is equally as difficult for each group.

This semester, string instrument players learn eight pieces during the Symphonic Orchestra class. The two GSO groups, consisting of both string and wind instruments, will each perform half of the repertoire. Each group rehearses weekly for one hour, one group from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the other group from 8:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.

Before the pandemic, members of the orchestra performed all assigned pieces, and rehearsals were two hours long.

According to Savic, she is planning to socialize with other musicians during the time that the two groups switch. She believes learning the other group’s pieces during class will allow for greater connection within GSO as a whole.

“I think that just encouraging the other [group by] knowing what they’re playing [and] being able to play with them, even if it’s not during GSO rehearsals, is really important to staying uniform and staying connected.

“At the end of the day, we’re still one big Glenbrook Symphony Orchestra,” Savic said.