Caitlin Hernandez/Courier Stock Photo: An empty hallway near the R building at Pasadena City College on Monday, March 16, 2020.
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43 events on PCC campus have been forced to cancel so far as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a list compiled by college officials.

Event organizers are putting forth efforts to move events and performances online. 

The organizers who were affected the hardest were the English division, the Outreach and Transfer Center, and the Performing and Communication Arts division.

Three events managed by the English department have been cancelled: The annual Borders of Diversity Student Scholarship Conference has been cancelled, along with two API (Asian Pacific Islander) Scholar events, and Creative Writing Visiting Writers event. 

The Borders of Diversity Scholarship conference is an annual event in which students have an introductory experience to a scholarly environment. It is typically a day-long event with 300-plus attendees and a keynote speaker. 

Borders of Diversity was scheduled to take place May 7 this year, and the keynote speaker was activist and writer Tanzila Ahmed. 

The event will be postponed until next year according to Simona Supekar, one of the professors in charge of the event.

The API Scholar events are meant to inspire API students to begin their own humanitarian pursuits. They feature an API scholar, artist, or writer who presents their work to the audience. Their last event featured an artist that attracted over 200 attendees.

API Scholar events are now hoping to organize an online meeting, according to an email sent out by Dr. Mikage Kuroki, an English professor.

Dr. Kirsten Ogden runs the Creative Writing Visiting Writers Series event, which will also be attempting to move online. 

“This year we had several writers scheduled for the visiting writer’s series, and prior to the coronavirus only 1 writer had come to campus,” Ogden explained in an email. “Some of the Humanities speakers were already arranged to be virtual, like writer and editor Dinty Moore of brevity magazine, and fiction writer Samantha Simpson.”

Performing Arts events have also been cancelled.

Music cancellations include jazz, choral, big band, and formal music performances. This will include an opera production of Figaro.

“The Chamber Singers’ planned April 13-19 performance tour of New York City and Philadelphia was canceled because of COVID-19. The singers are (still) devastated,” said Director of the PCC Choirs Rodger Guerrero, in an email.

Efforts are being made to find a way to use technology to preserve these activities and the public’s access to performances. So far, this has proved to be a great challenge. 

Broadcast rights must be acquired to show student performances online if they play contemporary pieces that are not public domain. It is also challenging to maintain the visceral effect experienced when viewing a live performance. 

“Nothing will replace face-to-face performance,” said Liesel Reinhart, dean of performing and communication arts. 

Providing theater and music performances to a cyber audience would not only affect the artists and viewers, but also the costumers, set designers, lighting designers, and others involved in the production. 

Out of this apparent disadvantage, though, is an opportunity for new growth.

“Any performer today needs to be good online,” Reinhart added. “This is good practice.”

For more information about PCC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, check here

Shantal Saborio

Shantal Saborio is a writer for the Courier. She enjoys exploring metaphysics, linguistics, and entomology. Beetles are her favorite.

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