September 29, 2020
The biggest change that choir students are facing is the way they practice. The students spend half an hour each day in the auditorium, where chairs are spread out by six feet. They take their assigned places and sing through their masks.
Switching rooms during rehearsal is one of the precautions that the choir is taking to minimize the spread of COVID-19 through the air. Aside from the fourth period freshman women’s choir, which can sing in the choir room and let it air out before the next day, the students stay in the choir room for one hour of the period and do activities that do not require singing like humming, learning music fundamentals and sight singing.
“On pen and paper, you technically could sing in the choir room for those first 30 minutes, allow it to ventilate while you’re in the auditorium, and then come back after 30 minutes [when] the choir room is ventilated, but we don’t take that chance,” Assistant Choir Director Drew Howard said.
There are only about 30 virtual choir students, but the directors said they will make sure that they also have a chance to grow musically. The virtual students work on rhythm, sight singing and basic music fundamentals and theory. They also work on music specific to their skill set, like the in-person students do.
Choir will also be having a virtual concert. In-person students will record their performances ahead of time. Choir directors Howard and Wesley Davis plan to take these clips, along with the individual videos that virtual students send in, and put them together into a massive online concert that can be sent out. The directors are also considering streaming the concert via YouTube so it feels more like an event.
“One of our big rationales behind doing that virtual choir is it is something that allows our virtual students to participate in as well,” Howard said.
Howard said that the choir teachers are still there to help the students grow.
“Even if that growth and development is allocated a little bit differently than usual, it’s still very much there and very much present in our teaching and the learning of our students,” Howard said.