On Thursday last week, EMS was delighted to host Ernest Richardson, Music Director of the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra, who assisted in the final tinkering before our Spring Strings Showcase. The occasion marked the first time that cohorts were able to meet together, in person. During the several weeks prior, the various methods of practice and construction illustrate yet another series of means by which EMS faculty have needed to be creative in working through the limitations of the pandemic. For the past several months, Mary Anne divided what will be the all-school portion of the Showcase – a selection of John Williams compositions from the Star Wars films – into separate portions for individual cohorts to learn and practice. Students worked in person with Mary Anne and Jessie whenever possible, and sometimes they joined their classmates over Zoom when they were off campus. Zoom also became a forum to begin tying the pieces together, as it leant opportunity for cohorts to see and interact with each other while in separate places. But nothing beats working as a complete symphony, live and in-person, and we were certainly fortunate to have access to Ernest’s expertise in synthesizing the different portions as a complete group. The weather performed its part, too (a bit breezy, but otherwise beautiful), and, although we’re still needing masks, the developing harmony usefully signified our collective return to near-normalcy. Through patience, practice, experiment, revision, and refinement, we’ve managed to sustain community and collaboration as hallmarks of an EMS education, and the Strings Showcase is the first in a series of well-deserved culminating events celebrating the end of the academic year and all the work our students have completed. It takes place this Tuesday, May 18th, at the Wolf Run Ranch, and the venue provides ample space for the entire school to enjoy an evening of musical festivities. The all-school portion will conclude the showcase, while the first half will feature individual and small ensemble performances from students in kindergarten through 8th grade.