A guide to the original content and encore concerts offered in place of this year’s summer festival. Click here for updates on this story LAKE OSWEGO, OR (KPTV) — Oregon’s school districts are working on plans for next school year. The state’s guidelines give them the authority to determine how much schooling will be done in person and how much will still be distance learning. “This is just a really tough complex The four-part series, “400 Years Later… ‘free-ish,” was created to raise awareness of the continuing legacy of racial inequalities lingering long after slavery’s end. Office workers can officially return to their buildings, according to state officials. But many employers have no such plans ahead
But as it became clearer that gathering musicians and audiences in Lenox would be inadvisable from a public health standpoint, the orchestra plotted out a course for the summer: it would migrate online as many elements as possible from the originally planned season, recording some brand-new content at Tanglewood while filling out the schedule with archival concerts and other offerings.
At the Tanglewood campus in Lenox, preparations for this summer look different from all others. The Koussevitzky Music Shed and Ozawa Hall, which would ordinarily be humming with activity, are silent. Instead, new content is being recorded at Studio E at the new Linde Center for Music and Learning, where X’s now mark spots on the floor for musicians to perform while keeping a safe physical distance from one another. A small masked crew is on hand in Lenox, but much of the work is done on the opposite end of the state in Symphony Hall, where a team of technicians capture sound and video using remotely controlled sound equipment and robotic cameras.
In terms of new content, the festival’s flagship offering is its “Great Performers” series, which will present recitals from Studio E by artists such as violinist Augustin Hadelich with pianist Orion Weiss (July 25); violinist Gil Shaham (July 3); pianist Conrad Tao (Aug. 15); and the cello-piano duo of Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax (Aug. 1). For this series, the orchestra drafted artists from the originally planned season who could drive to Tanglewood, Fogg said. Small groups of BSO musicians will also be driving to Tanglewood to record chamber music recitals in Studio E. Musicians can decide whether to perform masked, and if someone starts feeling under the weather, events are liable to be postponed or canceled.
The Wednesday night series “Recitals from the World Stage” presents new programs recorded in various venues around the world (including Studio E), featuring performers who were to have appeared at Ozawa Hall. That series kicks off July 8 with a performance by British pianist Paul Lewis produced in partnership with London’s Wigmore Hall, with other artists on the bill including string quartet Brooklyn Rider (July 22), Silkroad Ensemble with Rhiannon Giddens (July 29), and the Danish String Quartet (Aug. 5).
Sunday afternoons at 2:30 will offer full-length broadcasts of Tanglewood concerts from years past, gleaned from the orchestra’s vast library of footage. These are the same videos that are displayed on the large screens around the Shed during concerts so that the lawn audience can see the stage, Fogg explained. “We’ve never been able to make these available before.”
While encore performances can be accessed for free, watching new content requires paid single tickets or subscriptions. Those who donate $100 or more can access the entire season. The release schedule deliberately parallels a typical week of music at Tanglewood, but to allow for maximum flexibility (and/or repeat watching), videos will be available for a week after posting.
The same goes for the master classes, music history lectures, and panel discussions of the Tanglewood Learning Institute (TLI), much of which has easily transitioned online. Year-round digital offerings were already in the works for TLI on a new platform that was to be tied to an overhaul of the BSO’s website, explained director Sue Elliott. TLI has temporarily put that initiative on the backburner while it adapts its 2020 summer experience to the digital world, but that’s not necessarily a terrible thing.
“I am such an optimist, that I am really looking forward to seeing who’s going to … log on to TLI this summer who never would have in the in-person context,” Elliott said. The online experience of pre-recorded content and live Q&As could draw in any number of people who might be interested in coming to Tanglewood once the grounds reopen — as well as some who couldn’t travel to Lenox even in normal times, she said.
And there’s no reason why those digital offerings can’t continue even after live events restart, she said. “I think it’s the way of the future, and we’ll see what balance we can achieve when we come back to in person.”
Of course, no amount of online programming can compensate for the loss of the live festival this year. “Nothing replicates the experience of hearing music live, nor the gestalt of music and landscape which is at the heart of Tanglewood,” Fogg said. “But at least in people’s imagination, and keeping some rhythm of their listening habits, we’ve tried as best we can to replicate some of that.”
July 1-Aug. 23, www.tanglewood.org
Zoë Madonna can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @knitandlisten. Madonna’s work is supported by the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.
Oregon school districts work on plans for hybrid, online learning next school year
Click here for updates on this story
LAKE OSWEGO, OR (KPTV) — Oregon’s school districts are working on plans for next school year.
The state’s guidelines give them the authority to determine how much schooling will be done in person and how much will still be distance learning.
“This is just a really tough complex challenge,” Lake Oswego Superintendent Dr. Lora de la Cruz said. “We really do want to have our youngest learners have an opportunity to be in school every day.”
The Lake Oswego School District already surveyed elementary families and staff who mostly prefer five day a week in-person learning, which the district can do.
But Dr. de la Cruz said that’s not possible at the middle and high school levels where there are more students and smaller classrooms making it impossible to meet the state’s social distancing requirements that way.
Each student needs 35 square feet of space in a classroom according to the state.
So right now, LOSD is asking for input on entirely-online learning for all of those students or a hybrid model which would split students into two groups, with each group going to in-person classes two days a week, doing at-home work for two days, and then having one day of structured online school.
“The proposal with a couple days a week I think is better than not. It’ll be a little different but I think it will give them more of a social component that I think they all need because I would rather have them doing that than sitting on their phones or electronic devices all day,” Kris Kaelin said.
He has daughters at Lake Oswego High School and said at that age, the hybrid could be a good thing.
“This gives them an opportunity to encourage more responsibility from these kids to help them manage themselves a little bit,” Kaelin said.
Dr. de la Cruz said they’re still looking at other ideas too and this is just the developmental stage so they’re listening to feedback and modifying as they go.
“There is not going to be an ideal outcome plan. We’re not going to be able to have school the way we all wish it would be next year and so I think our very best solution is what we’re going to land on,” she said.
Other districts are working on similar plans.
The Beaverton School District’s website says students will have the option of either the hybrid model of alternating days in-person or all-online school.
Portland Public Schools said they should have more information to share next week.
Schools have until Aug. 15 to submit their plan to the Department of Education.
Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform.
Author: By CNN
Hampton grad finishes work on Confederate monuments documentary as Virginia fights over their fate
Kenya Cummins, far left, spent 18 months working on a documentary series with the HBCU Storytellers project. She is seen here digging with researchers at the Angela Site.
A little more than a year and a half ago, Kenya Cummins was selected to work on a documentary series that would focus on race relations in America as the country approached the 400th anniversary of enslaved Africans arriving on the Commonwealth’s coasts in 1619.
At the time, Cummins had no idea that when work on the series – an HBCU Storytellers Project born from a collaboration between the Nate Parker and W.K. Kellogg Foundations – would wrap up this year, the state would again be warring over the prominent placement of Confederate monuments in its cities.
But the recent Hampton University graduate and Maryland native said the coincidence, despite how frustrating it is, isn’t a surprise but a symptom of ongoing racism and the failure to educate students on the country’s handling of slavery and the resulting treatment of black citizens.
“In the recent weeks, following the murder of George Floyd, our country has experienced a new kind of awakening to the importance of racial reconciliation,” she said. “Through the intersection of filmmaking and culture, we made these films to hopefully inspire racial healing and reconciliation.”
The four-part series, “400 Years Later… ‘free-ish,” was created to raise awareness of the continuing legacy of racial inequalities lingering long after the end of slavery in the United States.
Filmed throughout Virginia, Cummins said historic locations like Jamestown are featured as the documentary crew interviewed archaeologists tasked with researching the Angela Site, where an enslaved woman named Angela was listed in a 1625 census as living in the household of Captain William Pierce, a well-connected and wealthy merchant in New Towne.
“Angela is documented as one of the first Africans brought to Virginia. Walking in her shoes, so to speak, and speaking with the researchers on-site was really powerful because as a young black woman in America, my own experiences pale in comparison to what she had to experience,” Cummins said.
Kenya Cummins, a recent Hampton University graduate, spent 18 months working on a documentary series with the HBCU Storytellers project, which examined racial tensions and relations in light of the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans’ arrival in Virginia.
Being able to honor Angela was a moving experience that Cummins still hasn’t totally soaked in.
“A lot of it is still so surreal because we’re still fighting for some of the same certain rights and privileges even today.”
Another portion spotlights a visit to Southampton County to speak with Khalif Khalifah, who founded the Nat Turner Library in 1998. The library sits on a 123-acre plot of land where Turner – who led a bloody rebellion of enslaved people in August 1831 – was born in 1800.
Hampton’s Fort Monroe is also featured, she said, where researchers spoke about the first Africans brought to America and how the history of black citizens has been erased and largely banished from textbooks. In some cases, she said, historic locations related to slavery are commemorated with Confederate monuments and statues instead of honoring the enslaved people who were brought there against their will.
Kenya Cummins, far left, spent 18 months working on a documentary series with the HBCU Storytellers project. She is seen here at the Angela Site.
The presence of such monuments today is a clear indication of the version of history that “we are more inclined to hang onto as truth,” she said.
“The pain that comes with the truth, the atrocities of slavery – are we more willing to hang on to Confederate statues to cling to any type of honor that was given to those men when what we know now is that what they were doing was not honorable at all? It’s pretty hypocritical,” she said.
Chalk it up to the overwhelming failure of educational systems, many of which have opted not to teach the real history of slavery, and structures of systemic racism that can lead to the discrimination of black citizens in criminal justice, health care, education, employment, housing and more, as defined by the American Civil Liberties Union.
“I was fascinated by how much I didn’t know, and I thought about how much of that was strategic,” Cummins said, reflecting on everything she learned during the filming process.
“I’ve been fortunate to go to private Christian schools, predominantly white schools, as a suburban kid in Maryland. I’ve been blessed. But I think what I learned just by being a part of this series is how much I don’t know. Those history classes I took to learn about American history, there wasn’t much about my history. I didn’t even learn about Nat Turner in a real way until ‘The Birth of A Nation’ came out,” she said, referring to the 2016 biopic starring Nate Parker, the Norfolk native who also wrote and directed the film.
It proved to Cummins that society is “strategic about what we want to be represented and elevated.”
The third segment in the series is titled “Confederate Statues: Heritage or Hatred.” It focuses on the issues related to the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue that sparked the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in August 2017 and Zyahna Bryant, a University of Virginia student whose activism and organizing efforts sparked the movement to remove the monument.
Zyahna Bryant, a University of Virginia student, is featured in the third segment of the documentary series. Entitled “Confederate Statues: Heritage or Hatred,” the segment focuses on the issues related to the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue that sparked the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in August 2017 and Bryant’s organizing efforts to remove the monument.
Cummins said Bryant’s work was no doubt a contributing factor to Gov. Ralph Northam’s April 2020 legislation, where he signed laws that would “repeal racist and discriminatory language from Virginia’s Acts of Assembly, give localities the ability to remove or alter Confederate monuments in their communities,” with House Bill 1537 and Senate Bill 183, and begin the process of replacing the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in the United States Capitol with Senate Bill 612 and House Bill 1406.
In the segment, Cummins’ classmates asked people on the streets whether such monuments should stay or go.
“We got a lot of mixed opinions from people in the community,” she said.
But most black residents answered resoundingly that the monuments should go.
“For black people, these statues represent terror and the fact that you have to look up at these statues, for example, the Robert E. Lee statue,” Cummins said. “There’s a psycho logic al aspect to having to look up to these Confederate statues knowing how much they’ve torn our people down and that they represent atrocities and a part of history that, at this point, we should be moving forward from.”
This fall, Cummins will attend Columbia University in New York City and study for her master’s degree in strategic communication. She’ll continue to create art that bridges the gaps between education and community via film, whether she works on more documentaries or other formats.
“At the core of it, it’s all storytelling. Everything that I want to create is going to be, to the best of my ability, of black lives. black lives are not monolithic. There’s no one way to be black. I want to showcase all different shades of the black experience … Art is a universal language, and my art is my activism.”
- kenya cummins
- confederate monuments
- hbcu storytellers project
- nate parker foundation
- nat turner
- khalif khalifa
- fort monroe
- angela site
- daily feature
- hampton university
Recommended on The Virginian-Pilot
Author: Amy Poulter
Work-from-home is becoming permanent for many San Diegans. Is everyone on board?
After roughly 100 days camped out at dining room tables or propped up on pillows while Zooming from their beds, many white-collar workers across San Diego are slowly coming to a realization: working from home might actually be permanent.
Some think it’s because a post-pandemic world will never exist, and workers must be protected from health threats. Others say it’s more to do with business accounting, as saving money on rent is wise for any company in a shaky economy.
Either way, many businesses in San Diego are in the midst of difficult conversations about how and when they will return to the office — or whether they’ll permanently say goodbye to their office-centric lifestyle.
Some are already downsizing their square footage, while others have negotiated their way out of leases entirely.
“My clients that are small-to-medium-sized businesses, especially the tech companies, are continuing to work remotely,” said David Marino, a principal at the Hughes Marino commercial real estate brokerage firm. “And a good amount of clients with leases expiring this summer or fall are choosing to forgo office space altogether. They’re not coming back.”
For San Diego tech company Wildfire Systems, the financial benefit of abandoning their office space was too great to ignore. Before the pandemic struck, the startup was working out of an office in University Town Center. But in March, executives dropped the lease.
“We don’t have rent anymore and office incidental expenses went to zero,” said James Revell, vice president and co-founder of Wildfire.
Lucas Fernandez, left, and his wife, Deicy, work from home while watching their children, Lucas Jr., 2, and Vienna, 7, at their La Mesa apartment.
(K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Although working from home has long been celebrated as the ultimate employee perk, the news of a closing office space may not be welcome to all workers. In fact, it may not even be welcome to most. In a recent survey of over 800 employees, about 48 percent said they’d want to continue working from home in a post-pandemic world, according to Chicago-based consultancy The Grossman Group. That leaves a full half of remaining employees who haven’t bought into the work-from-home lifestyle.
A smaller survey conducted by the Union-Tribune through Twitter had similar results. Of 180 respondents, 55 percent said they’d love to keep working from home while 45 percent said they’d miss the office.
If work-from-home was permanent and your office disappeared, what would you think of that?
“Everyone’s home situation is different,” said Ryan Kuder, who’s currently working from home as head of startup group Techstars Anywhere. Kuder and his colleagues normally share a physical office space in Carlsbad. “Working from home might make things better or it might make things worse. Families who live in small homes or apartments don’t have the luxury of space. Not everyone has a quiet place they can go and be productive.”
Kuder, who has three children at home, said he’s mixed on his own opinion of work-from-home life. He likes spending more time with his kids, eating healthier food at home, and exercising whenever its most convenient. But, with his youngest in kindergarten, it can be tough to focus strictly on work.
“Being able to manage all those things together is hard,” he said. “It’s nice to have someplace to go to relieve yourself from all that.”
Not all workers share that opinion, however. Lucas Fernandez, a young venture associate at Simplexity Venture Studio Fund, said working at home with his 7-year-old and 2-year-old can be tough, but he far prefers it to working in an office. He and his wife, Deicy, now work out of a small La Mesa apartment living room.
Fernandez’s company, however, is providing him a mix of options. Simplexity is asking workers to come into the office twice a week, which allows Fernandez some time away from the home. Fernandez said he’d prefer to be strictly a remote worker at this point, because that would allow him to move his family to a more affordable real estate market.
Although Marino, the commercial real estate broker, has a stake in offices staying populated, he characterized the dilemma nicely.
“There is no single truth out there,” Marino said. “Some people are working just fine. Others are miserable.”
(Courtesy of Flock Freight)
Jeff Lerner, the vice president of marketing for a fast-growing tech company called Flock Freight, said working from home is, operationally, perfectly fine. As a tech startup, Flock Freight experienced no logistical pain shifting to an all-remote work structure. He’s comfortable, he has the tools he needs, and the company’s productivity has actually been fantastic the past few months. The company’s software makes freight shipping more productive, and its product is suddenly highly meaningful while supply chains remain disrupted.
But Flock Freight has no intention of keeping its team fully remote.
“Plenty of people might be fine staying at home forever, but the vast majority of us want the interpersonal energy of being in the office together,” Lerner said. “We thrive off a high energy workplace where we have music playing, people on the phones, impromptu meetings and daily walks around Solana Beach. We miss that. It’s part of our culture. We’ve been extremely successful during work-from-home, but once the quarantine lifts we’ll be working in the office. It’s what suits us best.”
Miguel Koropecky, a senior product manager at tech giant Mitchell International, said he’s looking forward to the day when he might be able to return to the office at least a couple of days a week.
“We’re social animals at the end of the day, and being around people is nice,” Koropecky said. “Me and my dog got close over these past few months, but I miss my coworkers. Part of the satisfaction of work is being around the people you’re working with. Now, you only interact with people transactionally. Before it was a social experience. Now it’s all about the agenda.”
(Eduardo Contreras/The San Diego Union-Tribune)
When employees have vastly different opinions on returning to the office, what’s a company to do? Not providing office space for those who feel they need it is a human resources concern. Some employees feel they’re not being fairly compensated for having to provide their own office space and worry that they’ll increase their rent significantly to gain access to more space.
So far, the consensus among managers is to consider a hybrid work-from-home model in which some workers can use the office space, if they so choose, and others can continue working from home. This allows the company to reduce its square-footage of office space (if they can get out of their lease or sublease part of their space).
That’s the plan of many larger companies, including big tech giants like Facebook and Twitter. Here in San Diego, Mitchell International is also considering a hybrid model, but whether they’ll reduce square-footage is unknown, Koropecky said.
Of course, considering the economic climate, finances may be the deciding factor for most businesses on whether or not they’ll abandon office space altogether. Companies like Flock Freight, which is partially backed by Google (and just raised $50 million in February), are well-capitalized and can afford to think about culture and employee satisfaction.
Smaller or less financially stable companies might come up with different, more affordable solutions. Wildfire, for example, got rid of its office space, but still considered the workplace preferences of its employees.
“For those who didn’t have space to work from home, or didn’t want to, we’d consider paying for a hotdesk situation at a coworking space,” said Revell, the company’s co-founder. “We’re not spending any money on office space or travel, so a few hundred dollars a month to cover that isn’t a concern.”
Bonnie Shaw, who is president of a small communications company called Clearpoint Agency, said she has one employee who’s not happy working from home.
“She’s young and single, and she doesn’t have family at home,” Shaw said. “We told her if she doesn’t like working from home indefinitely, we can look into getting her a coworking space. She feels like she needs more of that.”
(Courtesy of Trust & Will)
Even if companies eliminating office space offer their workers a desk at a coworking facility, it doesn’t necessarily solve Koropecky’s issue: the loss of interpersonal relationships at work.
Kuder said it’s a problem that will face many managers and one that he’s given a lot of thought due to his work leading “virtual” startup programs.
“When people come into the office every day, they bump into each other at the coffee pot,” he said. “They have little conversations about their kids, their weekends. Managers need to be intentional about creating those opportunities online. Reserve 10 minutes of a Zoom meeting to catch up on casual stuff.”
Kuder goes a bit further than that with Techstars Anywhere. The company does “virtual coffee” dates, where they match people up for one-on-one Zoom calls over coffee. They also plan non-work-related presentations, like a recent Zoom workshop where a Techstars participant taught her colleagues how to cook an Indian dish.
Flock Freight does “virtual happy hours” during which they’re not allowed to talk about business, and created a Slack channel called “Office Life,” in which co-workers post pictures of their pets, their kids, or sometimes humorous work-from-home setups.
Lerner said it’s important to him to help maintain the social threads of Flock Freight, because it’s a big factor in employee retention and commitment.
“If you’re not having fun, getting along with your coworkers and going to occasional lunch or happy hour, it’s a lot harder to be ‘all in’ on a job,” Lerner said.
Miriam Kirmayer, a therapist and friendship researcher at McGill University, told the Union-Tribune last year that social connections at work are tied closely to retention in academic literature.
“When people feel socially connected at work, it has a large impact on our mood, our well-being, and our ability to cope with stress and burnout,” Kirmayer said. “When people are happier at work and more satisfied, it translates to better retention and fewer sick days.”
Lucas Fernandez, left, and his wife, Deicy, work from home while watching their children, Lucas Jr., 2, and Vienna, 7, at their La Mesa apartment.
(K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Even if a company does all of the above to boost social connections, burnout might still happen.
“The inability to extract work life from home life is challenging,” said Kuder. That’s perpetuated, he said, by the COVID-19 shutdown and resulting isolation.
Koropecky, who’s still working on a laptop from his dining room table, said there are times he doesn’t even know it’s time for dinner until his work things are being cleared from the table.
“You’re always connected,” Koropecky said. “Before, I wouldn’t typically respond to a message until I got into the office. Now, if someone reaches out to me at 7:30 in the morning, I’m like, ‘I guess my day is starting now.’”
Revell said the issue has already risen at Wildfire Systems, where the company has instituted a flexible paid time off policy.
“We pretty much said, ‘Take it whenever you need it,’” Revell said.
Some employees might need more than time off. Fernandez said he’d like to see more companies offering coverage for mental health services for staffers, or paying for access to online therapists or meditation through apps like Headspace and Calm.
After all, there’s a lot more going on in the world than a loss of comfortable desk space.
“We all need to understand the dynamic and be empathetic to our colleagues,” Kuder said. “That’s my takeaway.”
Hughes Marino has represented the Union-Tribune as a commercial broker.
Author: By Brittany Meiling