Students in the Grove City College chapter of the Pennsylvania Collegiate Music Educators Association (PCMEA) were looking forward to seeing the Pittsburgh Musical Theater production of “The Sound of Music” on March 15.
The PCMEA had bought a block of tickets and planned a day trip to the city’s Byham Theater. But the famed show was one of hundreds, if not thousands, of performances cancelled as the coronavirus pandemic shuttered theaters across the country.
“Our members who had planned to attend were, of course, very disappointed,” junior Music Education major Sarah Dawson ’21 of Wexford, Pa., president of the student organization, said.
Despite their disappointment, when the group was presented with two options on what to do about their unused tickets– trade them in for a future show or donate their cost to the Pittsburgh Musical Theater – the music students chose to help out. The chapter’s officers voted unanimously to donate the tickets as “a small gesture” in acknowledgement of a big problem, Dawson said.
“This crisis has presented an overwhelming challenge to arts organizations and the performing arts industry as a whole; with all live performances cancelled for the foreseeable future, and many productions halted mid-run, or right before opening performances, finances have become a great concern for these companies,” Dawson said. “Money that was expected to come back through ticket sales is now in question, and many of these organizations are working tirelessly to try to figure out what these implications will mean for their futures.“
Grove City College Professor of Music Stacy A. Paparone ’93, the group’s faculty adviser, said she was proud of the students’ action and understanding.
“As future music educators, these students have chosen a field that by its nature is caring and empathetic while at the same time appreciative of artistic endeavors of any kind. With the cancellation of so many arts performances, the PCMEA students were eager to make a contribution to support other artists in our professional community,” she said.