Photo by Athena Pajer
Photo by Athena Pajer

Going Online: Kirkland Joins the Internet Trend

August 29, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought an end to normalcy, and Kirkland Fine Arts Center is finding new ways to engage with the community and the arts.

KFAC, Millikin’s performing arts auditorium, has become the campus’s classroom for this semester. With many classes being held in its auditorium and others conducted within its jurisdictions, KFAC has become one of the most important places at Millikin for Fall 2020.

As the COVID-19 pandemic worsened, Kirkland’s directors found themselves with pending contracts and a schedule that was falling apart. During this time, Jan Saddoris-Traughber, Kirkland’s Managing Director, sought after a “new skill”: coordination. Saddoris-Traughber and Bryan Diver, Kirkland’s Technical Director, had to coordinate and plan as life was put on hold and performances were canceled for the remainder of 2020.

Yet the two still see Kirkland as a place full of possibilities and opportunities even during a pandemic. Saddoris-Traughber described the situation as having to “just roll with the punches.” ”

Yet the two still see Kirkland as a place full of possibilities and opportunities even during a pandemic. Saddoris-Traughber described the situation as having to “just roll with the punches.” 

“It’s new territory for all of us,” Saddoris-Traughber said. “There’s lots of projection and wishful thinking.”

Thus, KFAC created a plan.

Partnering with the School of Music, Kirkland plans to livestream several concerts for different on-campus ensembles such as the Millikin University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, University Choir, Jazz Band I, One Voice, and more. 

Saddoris-Traughber expressed her interest and excitement for the livestreams as Kirkland tackles their next project and seeks to encourage viewers to show their appreciation through donations.

Kirkland’s motivation for the partnership is the public. Saddoris-Traughber wants to bring the arts back to the Decatur community.

“People are missing live performances,” said Saddoris-Traughber. “We miss you and we want to be here for you.”

People are missing live performances,” said Saddoris-Traughber. “We miss you and we want to be here for you.”

Being here for the Decatur community and Millikin’s campus seems to be what the Kirkland staff are aiming for in these uncertain times. Even though live feeds cost money, Kirkland is being adaptable and searching for ways to serve the public that bring out their versatility and dedication to the community.

As the semester begins, Kirkland ended the unusual summer with a bit of normalcy. Dr. Silvan Negrutiu, Millikin’s Assistant Professor of Piano and Coordinator of Keyboard Studies, teamed up with Millitrax to record Kirkland’s first-ever recorded album. Saddoris-Traughber indicated that the goal for Kirkland with the production of the record is to “keep the arts alive in the community.” 

Above all else, Kirkland is seeking student engagement. Saddoris-Traughber indicates that Kirkland wants to attract student interest, and she encourages students to provide feedback. Although performances are canceled and guests are prohibited inside the auditorium, Kirkland still seeks to give back to the school that has influenced some of their greatest nights on this campus.

Despite looming uncertainty, Kirkland will continue to publicize its name around campus as livestreams take place and classes are held. The Kirkland Fine Arts Center plans to continue their work for student engagement and strong community connection as Millikin moves forward and life treads along this bumpy road.

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