Lamont School of Music Building Coordinator Directs School Through Unique Pandemic Challenges
On any given day, Michael Furry can be seen walking the halls of the Newman Center for the Performing Arts. He moves with purpose. As building coordinator for the Lamont School of Music, he knows the facility like the back of his hand. And during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, it proved to be an invaluable asset.
Furry started working at the Lamont School of Music in August 2015. After 15 years working as a music teacher and a performer, he wanted a more stable job. He compiled a list of schools of music close to Littleton. Religiously, he’d check the job posting websites, waiting for an opportunity. That’s when he came across the posting for his current job.
“I was looking for anything that would get my foot in the door – a benefitted job – but would still be around music,” Furry said.
In the seven years since, Furry’s joined the Lamont faculty as the Bluegrass Ensemble Director and has been an integral part of the operations at Lamont. From ensuring the functionality of classroom equipment to making sure students have access to instruments, the scope of Furry’s work goes beyond the title “building coordinator.”
At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the Lamont School of Music, like every unit on campus, had to learn to adapt quickly. And while lectures followed campus-wide protocol, Furry had to come up with a way to adapt the most fundamental part of the school – performance.
“It’s not quite the same to take a lesson over Zoom. There’s something that’s going to be lost if you’re not in the room with the person,” he said.
Traditionally, Lamont hosts more than 300 events in an academic year. While it was challenging, Furry and the facilities team found viable solutions, ensuring students could still learn, grow and perform.
“We had to make sure specific masks were being worn for singers, making sure bell covers were being utilized. At the very beginning you could only be in a room for 45 minutes. We had to be sure we were coordinating all the rehearsal requests, establishing policies for capacity,” Furry said.
In the end, Furry is proud of how Lamont responded to COVID. And as the school returns to pre-pandemic activities, he’s getting back to what he loves most – mentoring students.
“My job is to be around music all day. I have a lot of good conversations with students about how to navigate life and life after college. Hopefully, they teach me some stuff too. The world is always changing, and hopefully, I’m adaptable,” Furry said.