Student musicians and employees of SOTA continue to struggle with quarantine


Julian Mendoza

With the cancellation of all on-campus events, some student stage hands that used to work at Laxson Auditorium are now out of work.

With citizens forced to quarantine and almost all events in the city cancelled, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the Chico State School of the Arts to cancel all productions.

SOTA and Laxson Auditorium student employees were not initially informed about the cancellation of all events. Employees received day-to-day updates from managers, unsure of what lied ahead for the future of their jobs.

Anthony Paneno, a music major and student employee for SOTA, remembers the day he lost his job as a stagehand for Laxson Auditorium.

“I received three event emails from the SOTA production manager in one day, saying all events were cancelled, SOTA would try to finish everyone’s work training and that if anyone was interested, SOTA would help find ways to get students work or training virtually to make up for the loss of work,” Paneno said. 

Paneno not only lost his job as a result of COVID-19, but also suffered as an independent musician, losing more than $500 in cancelled gigs. 

“It’s a major loss not being able to perform, not only financially, but by also missing out on a lot of huge opportunities,” Paneno said. “The next few months I won’t be able to interact with other musicians which is really detrimental to my growth as a music major.” 

Other student musicians have experienced the negative effects of COVID-19 on Chico’s music scene. Executive director of the North State Symphony, Elizabeth Quivey, witnessed many student musicians in the symphony struggle to acclimate to an environment where musicians could not play with one another. 

“The symphony only rehearses together three to four times before a performance, but those rehearsals are crucial to the unity of the symphony,” Quivey said. “Right now, all of our performances are cancelled, so the musicians have nothing to play for and now lack the inspiration of other musicians to further their musical expertise.”

Although student musicians and employees continue to struggle with the quarantine, many are taking this opportunity to practice and refine their skills until they can return to work. 

Melissa Joseph can be reached at [email protected] or @melisstweetz on Twitter.