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'The Lesson of the Lark' premieres despite pandemic obstacles

At the start of 2020, the students and faculty in the music department at Northwestern Michigan College were beginning rehearsals for the world premiere performance of the "The Lesson of the Lark."

Composed by Jeffrey Cobb and with text by Laura Knight Cobb, "The Lesson of the Lark" celebrates the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment and women's right to vote.

But then COVID-19 hit, and all in-person rehearsals were shuttered. 

The world premiere of "The Lesson of the Lark" was pushed to December, and the performing forces moved online. 

As Jeffrey Cobb told Classical IPR recently, some of this transition to the virtual realm was quite a challenge. Other parts of the process ended up being extremely rewarding, such as the fact that singers from all over northern Michigan could now participate.

A virtual format also meant that NMC's Audio Tech and Visual Communications programs could participate, crafting the visual and audio presentation. 

In addition, some instrumentalists, including Laurie Sears (saxophones), Josh Wagner (trumpets) and Mike Hunter (trombones) are playing four or five different parts simultaneously in the virtual orchestra. 

"The Lesson of the Lark" will premiere Friday, December 4 at 7 p.m. on the Northwestern Michigan College Facebook page

The piece will be broadcast on Classical IPR in early 2021.

Dr. Amanda Sewell is IPR's music director.