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Home For The Holidays & More: WFSU’s Perpetual Pandemic Podcast

Michael Hanawalt poses at his home office with equipment he uses for Zoom rehearsals and classes.
New technology has been thrust upon the pandemic’s stay-at-home workers. FSU Professor Michael Hanawalt poses at his home office with equipment he uses for Zoom rehearsals and classes. Hanawalt also leads the Tallahassee Community Chorus, which has assembled in 2020 for virtual practices and learning sessions.

Will you be home alone for the holidays? Missing your usual festivities?
COVID-19 vaccines are bringing hope for some normalcy in 2021. In the meantime, we’re working with what we’ve got.

“I run a rehearsal basically with an electronic keyboard plugged in the computer. I've got this microphone here now and speakers so I can pipe in music so they can hear it,” says Michael Hanawalt. He directs Graduate Choral Studies at Florida State University, and he’s leading the Tallahassee Community Chorus in Zoom rehearsals as the group’s Artistic Director.

“I've got an iPad with my score on it, and I share the iPad screen with them while we’re rehearsing,” Hanawalt says of the chorus. “I've got this page-turning pedal. So I'm constantly tapping with my foot on the floor to turn the pages on the iPad while I'm kind of conducting along. I mean, it's just it's so bizarre.”

The chorus’ traditional Fall concert in November and Unity concert in January have been cancelled. Hanawalt hopes for some outdoor sing-alongs with the chorus in the spring.

While we lament the lack of routine holiday festivities, Dr. Perry Brown says the debut of COVID-19 vaccines is reason enough not to eagerly mark 2020 off the calendar. Brown is a professor at the Institute of Public Health at Florida A&M University, specializing in infectious diseases.

“There are so many lessons we have learned from our experience in this pandemic. We've learned empathy; we've learned about personal protection; we've learned about sacrifice, and we've learned about the wonderful, wonderful advances in medical technology that have brought us a vaccine in less than almost a year,” Brown says. “One of the important things about lessons is that we are taught some things, and hopefully it also allows us to see where we have made mistakes so that we don't make them again.”

Click “LISTEN” at the top of the page to hear more of “Home For The Holidays,” the finale of WFSU’s Perpetual Pandemic Podcast for 2020. To hear the rest of season 1 and how Tallahasseeans are handling the pandemic, click episodes below. The series is also available with your favorite podcast provider.

Walk It Off

Mental Health & The “Be Kind” Hotline

Anxiety With A Capital A

Desperate For A Dog

Cabin Fever

Missing Moments

Gina Jordan is the host of Morning Edition for WFSU News. Gina is a Tallahassee native and graduate of Florida State University. She spent 15 years working in news/talk and country radio in Orlando before becoming a reporter and All Things Considered host for WFSU in 2008. Follow Gina: @hearyourthought on Twitter. Click below for Gina's full bio.