In An Abnormal Year, Students Find Comfort in the Arts


Wilde Lake seniors Shelby Kline (left) and Shanna Kachuriner (right) performing together at an outdoor cafe on October 31, 2020. (Photo taken by Sarah Rubin)

Seats are empty, instruments have been left to collect dust, stage lights are off. 

Distance learning has made it difficult for students to rehearse, perform, and collaborate. In spite of all of this year’s challenges, students have continued to find refuge in their artistic pursuits.

Wilde Lake’s band director Mr. Green adapted his band to the virtual world, but has taken a different approach this year: student support. “We have all been challenged in unique ways,” he says. “I’ve just been focused on making people feel comfortable.” For Mr. Green, giving students opportunities to play their instruments is key in maintaining the “band family.” 

“Being part of a music program provides a family-like atmosphere. It allows people to grow in ways that are irreplaceable,” says Mr. Green. 

Mr. Green says classes have been upbeat despite the circumstances. “We are tackling each day. There’s been so much change throughout the year and we’re still able to laugh and smile and have a good time. I didn’t think that could be possible. I truly didn’t.”

Clarinet player Tykiara Davis says that Mr. Green’s band gives her a place to breathe. “It helps me find my peace and makes me feel creative,” she says. Tykiara has started going back to old pieces in her spare time when she wants to keep playing outside of class, which helps her feel more comfortable playing with the group as a whole. 

Similar to Tykiara, sophomore Danielle Sumaryo has found a safe space in theater, specifically improv. Danielle leads Wilde Lake’s newly resurrected improv troupe ‘Cat-R-Acts’ and is a member of Howard County’s All County Improv. Danielle says that improv has given her a creative outlet and a place to escape the uncertainty of this past year. “It [improv] gives us a place where we don’t have to think. We can relax, laugh, and have fun. We all need a break sometimes.”

Choir President Shanna Kachuriner credits her ability to navigate a “year of loss” to choir and her outside of school music endeavors. “Music was the only normal thing I really had and could rely on,” she says. “Singing in choir just makes my day better automatically because I’m with some of my favorite people and making such beautiful music.”

Whether it be behind a screen or sitting at a desk, students have found home in Wilde Lake’s art programs. Shanna says, “It [the arts] brings people together, and is one of the only things that we can find common ground on. It’s a family feel; everyone is always loved and appreciated.”