School choir holding holiday concert virtually

Angela Colombo, Of The Talon staff

The choir’s yearly holiday performance was converted to a fully virtual format in order to accommodate for new COVID-19 restrictions.

Beginning first quarter, choir students were given their song assignments for the holiday concert to learn and eventually record for their use in the virtual performance. Choir director Angela Rice said that in order to learn the literature, the choir would practice over Zoom as well as in their own time using rehearsal tracks.

“When we were all virtual, during class over Zoom, I would play the piano and sing one voice part at a time and students would mute themselves and sing along. In Canvas, students had tracks to rehearse with. Eventually, students would record individual performances in Flipgrid. I took each video and compiled them in Audacity to make full recordings of our songs. It wasn’t difficult, but extremely time consuming,” Rice said.

While the new format of the concert was an adjustment for some, junior Paige Seifert said that the overall concept of recording and sending in videos was similar to in-class assignments students would send in during the normal school year.

“From the students’ end, this seemed a lot like our normal assignments where we would practice our songs together during class, then after class send in us singing our separate parts. Being able to send in those videos for the concert was also beneficial in a way since we were able to re-record and didn’t have to do as much music memorization,” Seifert said.

In addition to the holiday concert, the choir was also able to carol in assisted living homes in previous years; however, due to COVID-19 restrictions they are unable to do so this year. Rice said that she will use a similar format as the virtual concert to send videos of students singing as an alternative to the usual caroling. 

“Covid has really altered what we can do this year. We are creating a short video of carols that we will be sending to assisted living facilities that they can show at their convenience. I really want to keep our community involvement alive and our nursing home facilities are a part of our population that could really use some holiday cheer this year,” Rice said.

As for future concerts and performances, it is still unclear as to whether or not the choir will be able to hold any live performances. Rice said that most likely concerts will have to remain online with the possibility of a live steamed show. 

“Singing is ranked as one of the high-risk activities with regard to the virus, so it wouldn’t be safe for our singers to stand on risers and sing, or for us to sing toward a live audience, so I do not see live concerts in our future this year. Live-streamed, possibly, if we can perform in a place large enough that we are all social-distanced and I can get a good quality recording. We have to sing in masks, also, so quality is really tough,” Rice said.

The choir concert will be released to students on Dec. 18; however, will not be published on social media sites for public viewing.