Reopening New Jersey: Music students turn parking deck into rehearsal space

MONTCLAIR, New Jersey (WABC) -- Music students at one New Jersey university are taking their talents outside, rehearsing on the seventh floor of the on-campus parking deck amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Students at the John J. Cali School of Music, part of Montclair State University, head to the Red Hawk parking deck every Thursday.

And when singing is your passion -- and your major -- an empty parking deck will do to get one up on a virus that had shut them down.

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"Having the emotional connection, being able to see everybody and seeing their physical presence ready to learn and do what we do best, and share our music and share our love," sophomore Myah Henry said.

And there's strength in numbers.

"There's a certain energy and magic of being in the physical presence of everyone," senior Alexa Tammone said.

The space also offers the opportunity to come together, while staying apart.

"This air is helping us along with some social distancing, these special masks allow them to sing and be heard the same way, and other protocols," Dean Tony Mazzocchi said. "This is the way."

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They've been at it for a month so far, and everyone has stayed healthy so far.

"Seeing how everyone from faculty to students are making every single contribution in order to keep us all safe, it has lessened a lot of my worries," Henry said.

The group had practiced together on video conferences, but a web cam can't compare to the acoustics and camaraderie that anyone nearby on campus gets to enjoy.

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It overwhelmed the health care industry, it put millions out of work, it drowned social services in an ocean of need and threatened the food supply Americans had long since taken for granted. At the apex of the crisis and for the weeks that followed, no part of life, or even what followed life, was spared.

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