SOMA Arts Organizations Coronavirus-Related Schedule Changes, Event Cancellations

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Local arts and arts education organizations are reacting to the coronavirus threat with updates to their schedules. Here is a rundown of changes in the South Orange-Maplewood area.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated as of Friday, March 13 at 9:00a. We will continue to update this article as we receive new information.

See updated information from the CDC on coronavirus here.

Rent Party has cancelled their show which was originally scheduled for Friday, March 13 at 7:30pm. Their event page notes the following:

“We are disappointed to announce that we are canceling Friday’s Rent Party: The Bitter Chills, Wild Carnation, Yung Wu show. The health of our volunteers, the bands, and all of you are of the utmost importance to us. We would rather err on the side of caution than risk anyone of you getting sick. Thanks for your ongoing support and we’re looking forward to April’s show!”

South Orange-Maplewood Adult School is currently proceeding with their normal class schedule.

Their website notes the following:

“At this time our classes are proceeding as normal, and we continue to adhere to SOMSD, Maplewood Village, the New Jersey Department of Education and the New Jersey Department of Health policies regarding Coronavirus. Please continue to check our website for updates.”

SOMA Film Festival has cancelled their 2020 festival schedule due to “an abundance of caution for the safety of our audience members,” says founder and director Matt Smollon.

Their website notes the following:

“We will announce the new schedule in a few days, and all tickets purchased to date will be transferable. Refunds will be available to those who cannot make the new dates. We look forward to sharing our inspiring, dynamic program with you once the leaves start to turn.”

Lydia Johnson Dance School has cancelled their classes for Thursday, March 12 and Saturday, March 14 but have re-scheduled make-up days.

An email to their students and families note the following:

“In light of the increasing information on the benefits of social distancing and avoiding contact with groups during this world-wide pandemic, we are going to cancel our classes on Thursday, March 12 and Saturday March 14. This will allow us to consult with Maplewood Township regarding options at the Burgdorff building and to consider our protocols. We have concerns for the well-being of all our families, young dancers and teachers and we want to carefully consider the situation. These 2 dates will be made up on Thursday, May 21 and Saturday, May 23. We will be back in touch as soon as a viable plan is decided. As of now, classes next week (3/16) are still being held unless you hear from us.”

Mark Murphy’s Music has announced a series of changes to their schedule within the next two weeks as well as re-scheduling of classes.

An email to their students and families note the following:

“I wanted to reach out to discuss some of our schools thoughts regarding the current health issue re: the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

First, we want to keep you informed about our efforts to ensure the health and safety of all of our students and families. This is a very serious issue that we are all facing and your health and well-being is of paramount concern to us.

You are all part of our musical family and we will get through this together.

With that in mind we have made the necessary steps in the short term to move all of our are one-one lessons to the Zoom Video Communications Platform.

Zoom is an amazing company and has a video platform that runs on any device (computer, tablet, phone). It is easy. Zoom will allow our students the ability to receive amazing one-on-one music instruction from their MMM instructor in the safety of their home.

The details:

  • The physical studio will remain open thru this Saturday March 14th, 2020.
  • There will be no lessons Monday to Friday March 16 thru 20, 2020. These lessons will be made up during the April school break. April 13 thru April 17, 2020. Please mark your calendars.
  • Video lessons will begin on Saturday March 21, 2020.
  • The platform is very easy to use. We will email you a link to join your lesson at the regular time and then you will have the lesson remotely. Nothing will need to be downloaded to access the lesson. Simple.
  • All bands in the short term will be cancelled. Thursday March 12, 2020 will be the last band classes for the short term. Starting in April all monthly band tuition will be placed on hold until we resume the MMM band program at our school. You will not be charged for the band program until we resume.

Hopefully we are “over-reacting”. But again, your safety, health and peace of mind is so important to our school. Knowing that our students will be able to enjoy their music in this healthy arrangement seems like the absolute best choice. We will obviously follow the CDC and news very closely and as soon as we can reopen the school and have lessons in person we will.

It is very important to make sure that we have your most up to date email/cell contact information for the Zoom platform. Zenobia will be contacting you to connect on this.

I know this is an incredibly unique moment in-time. Please know how important you are to us and we want everyone to be safe, healthy and happy. Music is going to be more important now than ever to help us get through this.”

SOPAC announced that all events will be postponed, rescheduled, or cancelled beginning Friday, March 13 lasting “probably through mid-April,” said Dee Billia, Director of External Relations. SOPAC will be contacting all customers with further updates.

In Montclair, the Montclair Art Museum (MAM) announced on Friday it will be closed temporarily:

The Montclair Art Museum is committed to the health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and students. Beginning today, March 13, at 12 p.m., we will be temporarily closing the Museum and all programs, including Yard School classes and outreach programs, through March 31. In the interest of staff and community health, we feel it is best not to remain open.

The Museum will stay apprised of the evolving recommendations of the CDC and Montclair Township for avoidance and containment of COVID-19 and share updates as they become available. Please continue to check our website and follow us on social media @MAMmontclair for additional updates.

Maplewood Mayor Frank McGehee announced on Thursday, March 12 that several township buildings will be closed, including This includes The Woodland, The Burgdorff, DeHart Community Center, 106 Burnett Senior Building, and 1978 Springfield Ave Art Center. The township is recommending that gatherings over 50 people be avoided.













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