By Fiona English
Suppose you recall my first editorial here with the Compass. In that case, you’ll remember I focused on new opportunities within opportunities, including the FSW Jazz Ensemble, which I am fortunate enough to be a part of. Last Wednesday, the open house was our first official performance as a band and was an incredible experience for me, the performer. If you have also been keeping up with our publications, I have also covered the Lee Campus’ open house.
I found this article rather challenging to write as I wanted to include immense detail on the open house but keep a distance from my own experience to save for the editorial. I then realized all of my time spent there was running around taking pictures and psyching myself up to perform. It was chaotic, to say the least- running around in pinchy dress shoes and a black dress shirt and pants- but it was necessary to capture all the tables. Two things stood out to me that day: community and spirit.
Quite odd to say community and spirit, isn’t it? But it’s true. Seeing professors share old jokes and students enjoying their peers’ camaraderie brought back the sense of community I had felt was lost from FSW since the start of the pandemic. The performing arts carried the spirit of FSW that day. Every musician, singer, and thespian performed their heart out with immense passion because, on that day, WE as a whole represented FSW, the future of the arts, and the teachers and artists to come.
That day was my first ever performance in a jazz ensemble, a rather interesting first time. It was hot, for one (but when is it not in SWFL), and the blazing sun felt like burning stage lights on my neck. My brass instrument felt warm, and the hot, sticky breeze flapped my music around like dancing flags held back by clothespins. The 45 minutes I spent frantically running around (believing I was late) had given me an adrenaline rush, on top of the one I previously had psyching myself up to perform.
The “stage” was set, and Dr. Smith counted us off and this uncomfortable, sweaty scenery dissolved as the music played. From there, it was a blur, and only the rush of adrenaline remains in my memory. But this experience was crucial for me to understand the pandemic and its consequences on us. The great ‘community’ and ‘spirit’ I speak of was never lost, just hidden within FSW and slightly hindered by the pandemic. It is this very community and spirit that keeps FSW going and alive, and it is something that I am very fortunate to have an experience with.
Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Compass