Choir and COVID-19

Band competes in virtual all-region


EmmaGrace Kuhl

Senior Aaron Montano practices for All-region through the computer screen. This year, All-region is planned for Dec. 9.

Story by Emma Allen, staff writer

Due to the pandemic, many events have been made virtual this year, including all-region auditions for choir, band, jazz band and orchestra. For the auditions, each group must learn challenging music, perform it for a set of judges and, if the judges deem it so, will participate in a concert with the top ranking performers in each section. From there, auditions for area and state are a possibility. 

Every stage of the audition process has been altered this year to tailor to COVID-19 protocols, from rehearsals to recording, and the choir, which always hosts auditions first, acted as a guinea pig. Shorter rehearsals, as well as one-on-one socially distanced practices with their director were only some of the changes made in this year’s choir.

“We’re only allowed to sing for like 30 minutes because of circulation,” junior Maddie Frost said. “We have to stand far away from our director [in order] for us not to have to wear our [face shields]. 

I had more time to really do the best that I can do, but in a way you lose something when it’s not just going in and auditioning.

— Madelyn Snow

Once they had spent months preparing, the time had finally arrived. On a normal year, the auditions take place in a single day, singers from all over the region coming together at one school to participate. This year, however, it was spread across four days.Most of the students enjoyed the low stakes environment of choir-room-recordings, but there were challenges too. 

“We all had to make an account for MusicFirst, which was the program that we used, and then we had to go to the recording spot and record our [cuts of the music],” senior Darby Robertson said. “But it was a little difficult because if you didn’t get it perfect you could try again, but you could never get your old recording back.”

Usually, the day of the auditions have tensions running high, but this year felt different.

“It was definitely less stressful because if you’re actually at the event itself, you only get one shot. That’s it,” junior Jeremy Creek said. “[There are] three to five judges behind this black tarp that you’re singing into, just judging your every move.”

Choir director Jennifer Fowler, found the judging process of listening to the recordings at home much more comfortable than the typical day in a regional high school. Nonetheless, she misses the old ways.

“I think my favorite part is the end of the day when the results come out and you’re standing there with your kids,” Fowler said. “I already know the results, but when you watch them as they’re [releasing] the results, watching the kids and seeing when they make it, and how well they’ve done— I missed that this year.”