The coronavirus pandemic has reshaped the world as we know it, and the arts are no exception. In the face of these changes to the realm of classical music, Harvard’s radio station WHRB (95.3 FM) is responding in innovative ways.
On May 6, the station will broadcast a 15-hour feature paying tribute to the canceled Boston area concerts, the musicians who have had to reimagine their music-making, and the performing arts organizations facing difficult decisions. Titled, “What Could Have Been,” the show will highlight classical music artists from the local community who will talk about how they’re adapting to the crisis, how they continue to make music, and how they find hope during these difficult times. Interview subjects include Gary Dunning of the Celebrity Series of Boston, Scott Metcalfe of Blue Heron, and members of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.
WHRB president Allison Pao ’21 said it’s been a collaborative effort to stay on air 24/7, with staff on duty at all hours. An undergraduate student comes in every Saturday afternoon to produce regular Metropolitan Opera broadcasts. General manager Emily Spector ’21, chief studio engineer Margaux Winter ’21, and former chief engineer Hamish Nicholson ’20 live nearby and regularly come into the station to manage basic operations.
“Undergraduate staff have been working hard to produce broadcasts remotely as well, recording our classical afternoon concerts from 1 to 6 p.m. on weekdays,” Pao added. “This in itself is a massive effort which requires ripping hundreds of CDs and recording hundreds of announcing breaks.”