Fall Fusion 2020: ARTBeat’s Answer to Performing in a Pandemic

The evening started off in the Zoom Group Chat: 

From Ridgewood ARTBeat to Everyone: 

Welcome to Fall Fusion! We will be starting shortly. 

Amidst the chaos of a still-raging global pandemic, Ridgewood High School’s ARTBeat club came together to safely give the community a much needed evening of excellent music and artwork. Performers wore masks the entire time, band members were spaced out, and the equipment was sanitized between acts. The night wasn’t perfect: some people forgot to mute themselves, unstable connection at times, or the sound cutting out, but this year has been far from perfect, and what’s a Zoom meeting without a few technical difficulties? This year’s Fall Fusion was still a more than lovely evening. 

The theme was “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, prompting the campus center’s stage to be decorated with puffs of white snow, a Christmas tree with blinking lights, and a hand-painted Jack Skellington cut-out. After working out sound issues, thanks to the live audio engineer, RHS sophomore James Harkin, and an introduction from the MC, senior Sam Ngai, performances were underway. 

A true reflection of the diversity of students at RHS, the seven performances showed a great blend of style and genre. Senior Sophie Hartstein kicked off the show with “Cool Girl” by dodie, featuring a soft indie melody. Then acoustic performances by sophomores Julia Wavle playing the ukulele, followed by Sarah Jeong on guitar. After senior Kyu Hong Kim’s soothing, jazzy piano solo, I was treated to a slideshow of amazing artwork by RHS students during the intermission. 

Many of us have developed a love-hate relationship with technology during this time, but hearing junior Sanjna Rajagopalan’s rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Not Dark Yet” made me grateful for it. Although she was unable to physically attend the event, we could still witness her soulful performance from home. Following the individual acts, Six Degrees Separate, featuring seniors Hannah Calaman (vocals/guitar), Daisy Soper (drums), and RHS alum Matt McCoy (bass), played “Motion Sickness” by Phoebe Bridgers and ended with “April” by Beach Bunny. 

One of the final few songs of the night, “Still Beating” by Mac DeMarco, performed by Four Underwater Laps, comprised of seniors Michael Mariniello (vocals/bass), Liam Martin (guitar), and Jake Rubenstein (drums), reminded me of how much RHS and the Ridgewood community has accomplished throughout these past months. Despite not being physically there, I, along with more than fifty other virtual audience members, was able to enjoy a night of music, art, and Zoom group chat jokes. 

Ridgewood is still very much alive and (ART)Beating. 

Follow ARTBeat on Instagram @ridgewoodartbeat

Allison Hong

Graphic: Kate Zuckerman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *