Meghan Nardella singing beside a piano

Sophomores create online community for School of Music

With the recent shift around the world to remote learning and working environments, Penn State students, faculty, and community members are struggling to find a new normal. Many people are turning to social media, and School of Music sophomores Kirsten Haddox and Meghan Nardella are working to keep their school community engaged through Facebook and Instagram.

While it may seem difficult to experience the realm of music and performing arts through a computer screen, Haddox and Nardella and working hard to keep the community up-to-date on the current happenings in the School of Music.

Nardella, a voice education major and theatre minor, and Haddox, an oboe performance major and arts entrepreneurship minor, are constantly taking to Facebook and Instagram to feature virtual performances and events, publish information about the school, and post humorous blurbs to lift the spirits of their followers. They are also working on a few campaigns and highlighting various clubs on campus.

“Right now our main work [for the social media pages] is interacting with prospective students. In the coming weeks, we are going to put up feature posts for students who have committed and include a bio about them,” said Haddox.

Nardella said another project they are working on involves reaching out to the individual social media managers for each studio page (voice, oboe, bass, percussion, etc.) and asking them to create a playlist on Spotify of pieces featuring each particular instrument.

“We created a new Spotify page for the School of Music and shared all of these playlists. That way, people could still feel connected to each other through music,” said Nardella.

Nardella said that she expanded her musical tastes since curating the many different Spotify playlists.

“I personally didn’t listen to a lot of non-vocal music until this year, so it has been really cool to help expand not only my tastes but other people’s musical tastes,” said Nardella.

Haddox said the social media management team consists of mainly the two sophomores. Nardella handles more of the voice- and choir-related content, while Haddox handles more of the band and orchestra marketing.

“In terms of creating events, we follow the College of Arts and Architecture calendar. We make graphics for those events—which are now virtual—and post them. We try to showcase as much variety as possible,” said Nardella.

Haddox and Nardella agreed their focus on Facebook is highlighting a lot of student accomplishments.

“Some of the composition majors just got accepted into internships and different festivals, so we shared those accomplishments on Facebook,” said Nardella.

As far as the future goes, the social media managers are already starting to work on content for the upcoming fall semester.

“During the summer, we start working on content for the fall. We start making promo videos for upcoming concerts and events,” said Haddox.

Nardella and Haddox said they are constantly trying to share more virtual events—presentations, concerts, lectures, Zoom meetings with alumni, and more—that people can easily watch from the comfort of their own home.

“Streaming Zoom meetings and showcasing other events is a great way for people to come together as artists and watch,” said Nardella.

While the dedicated sophomores are busy working for the School of Music, they can’t help but miss Happy Valley and its charm.

Streaming Zoom meetings and showcasing other events is a great way for people to come together as artists and watch.”
–Meghan Nardella

Despite missing their friends and their student organizations, Haddox and Nardella are making the most out of the current social distancing routine.

“It is definitely the people and the relationships that I am missing the most. It is weird when you see faculty and friends every day and then leave for spring break, not realizing you won’t see them again for months,” said Nardella.

“I miss my close friends,” said Haddox. “I miss all of the opportunities I had at Penn State. I had been really trying to strengthen my marketing skills and being at home makes it really hard to go out and apply for things.”

Both students are eager to return to State College and continue making music with their peers. They encourage everyone to keep up with the School of Music’s Facebook and Instagram pages throughout the coming weeks.

By Carlie Fox