ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic brought performance tours to a virtual standstill. D’Eramo writes that “the pandemic proved the centrality of tourism through tourism’s omission” (2017, p. 9). This was also true for tours within the context of Cornell Wind Symphony (CWS) community engagement initiatives. The CWS last toured Haiti and the Dominican Republic in January 2019. As of this writing, only one member of the current ensemble participated in one of those tours. All of the groundwork to educate the students and help them develop cultural competency, the developed and refined practical and logistical practices and materials, and the enthusiasm surrounding our campus–community partnership has fallen away. The slate has been wiped clean. My partners and I tried to keep our collaboration alive through virtual engagements; however, while beneficial, they were not a viable alternative to in-person connections in tour locations. Community-engaged performance tours enable university students to escape their day-to-day campus existence, develop cultural competency through lived experience in the community, and engage with community partners by making music with them—live and in-person. Adjunctive projects can help sustain the partnership between tours but cannot substitute for tours.