Last fall, I returned to my dorm from a late-night rehearsal for our Fall 2019 production of Pinafore to find a letter slipped under my door. The neatly-addressed envelope contained a card embossed with the HRG&SP logo, inviting me to the organization’s Wine & Cheese celebration. The annual event offers an opportunity for HRG&SP community members to break out their cocktail attire and enjoy an evening of refined revelry with friends from productions past and present.
As a member of the Board and the Wine & Cheese committee this fall, I struggled to imagine how we might capture the spirit of the event in a virtual format. Replicating the energy that comes from sharing the same physical space seemed a daunting task. Yet my wonderful fellow committee members kept the faith, and we began to adapt the event for Zoom. Hand-addressed envelopes were replaced with Paperless Posts, and breakout rooms allowed attendees to move between conversations within the call. Rather than making group grocery store runs to pick up absurd amounts of cheese, we all arrived on Zoom with our own favorite varieties. When all was said and done, a tenacious few remained on the call until well past 3:00 AM.
Virtual Wine & Cheese reminded me of what is most important about the event. While I love putting on a cocktail dress and munching on fresh fruit in the Signet, I have always most enjoyed having an evening dedicated specifically to spending time with other HRG&SP community members. It is an opportunity to reaffirm our bonds and to enjoy each other’s company, putting aside the stress of midterms and the chaos of the semester. While fancy invitations and cheese boards are lovely, Wine & Cheese 2020 has proven that all we need to enjoy the event is each other (although a block of apricot Wensleydale certainly does not hurt).