Fourth Ave Reevaluates Mask Decision


Fourth Ave performs at the Supernova competition.

Frances Bottorff and Isaac Bullwinkle

City High’s Fourth Avenue Jazz Company has been in discussions for weeks. Although the show choir group wears masks during practices, they could not decide if they should wear them while performing. The week before the Winter Show, Mr. Hagy, the group’s director, announced that the voting decision had to be unanimous. In performance settings, masks would be worn by either everyone or no one. After a group vote, it was decided that they would wear masks during the Winter Show. 

However, a week prior to Fourth Ave’s first competition, Hagy decided to change the voting policy. He decided to allow those who wanted to wear masks to do so and those who didn’t to not. 

“We decided that [allowing both options] would be the most responsive policy. I think we always just have to be responsive to the current situation and how things are going,” said Hagy. 

Compared to other schools in Iowa, Fourth Ave is one of the only show choir groups that wears masks while performing. Hagy recognized that this could potentially affect the competitiveness of Fourth Ave. 

“It could [impact the scoring], because the ballot has several different categories on it. For example, vocal projection, diction, and facial expression, things like that, which are impacted in some ways by wearing masks compared to not,” Hagy explained. 

As a member of Fourth Ave, Abbie Thomas ‘22 feels that making the mask decision optional rather than unanimous offers a broader view to how the group feels.

I think the unanimous mask decision wasn’t representative of everyone’s opinion,” Thomas said. 

Aaron Rutherford ‘22, another member of the group, understands that while there could be competitive effects due to collective masking, it is a safer option than the current policy. 

“I liked everybody having to wear masks because I felt it was safer, but I think [the new policy] appeals to what the people in the group want. We have a mix of people who want to wear masks and people who don’t want to wear a mask.”

Regardless of the outcome, both members are relieved that the tension regarding the decision is gone. 

“Now we don’t all have to be on the exact same page, and I think everybody understands and respects everybody else’s decision. We understand that it’s there, and we’re all doing our best job to stay safe and still balance the two needs, staying safe and performing well,” said Rutherford.