By Deadra Hart, Music Faculty
This year, COVID-19 provided Chorus with an opportunity to think creatively about how they could sing together without being together in-person.
Under the leadership of 8th Grade Chorus co-heads Holly Pisani and Juliet Koff, Chorus met via Zoom each Thursday during study hall to connect, choose repertoire, create vocal arrangements and share recording and mic techniques. Students also utilized time during virtual Fridays to practice together remotely and engage in individual vocal coaching. Chorus members then familiarized themselves with the new collaborative recording program Soundtrap. With this technology, they could input vocal parts from anywhere and work on tracks together, which is ultimately how we recorded songs throughout the year.
A full-ensemble song was chosen in the fall, with Juliet and Holly leading the group through the repertoire selection process. Beginning this way helped everyone to feel the sense of camaraderie that comes from hearing one’s voice blended with the voices of others. In the winter and spring terms, students were ready to let their individual voices shine, choosing songs that they loved to sing in solos, duets, trios and quartets.
Some songs were hopeful, others were a way to escape the COVID world. But each one expressed the feelings of the singer. After repertoire was chosen, practiced and refined, the parts were recorded. We were so lucky to have talented 6th grader Simon Podos as our sound engineer this year. Simon mixed tracks, setting levels, adding EQ and effects, and ultimately using his impeccable musical ear to make the tracks sound fantastic.
I could not be more proud of this remarkable group of young musicians. They rose above and beyond during this difficult year. They were compassionate and encouraging toward one another, they took positive risks and they made beautiful music together. And as a community, we are the better for it.
Performances can be heard at the links below.
- Underdog by Alicia Keys - Full Chorus
- Cover Me In Sunshine by Amy Allen & Maureen McDonald - Holly Pisani
- Better Days by OneRepublic - Juliet Koff
- Drops of Jupiter by Train - Zahabiya Khokha & Veena Scholand
- Rewrite the Stars by Benj Pasek & Justin Paul - Emilia Adams & Marlena Maleska
- Stand By You by Rachel Platten - Samantha Bernstein, Holly Pisani, Juliet Koff, Kaelyn Bruce