Wednesday, February 1, 2023

An Iowa City show choir goes virtual


The Fourth Ave. Jazz Company show choir at Iowa City High School started conducting virtual rehearsals on November 16 and will continue for at least two weeks as the school moves all classes and activities online, The Little Hawk reports.

Mars Hill Bible School Celebration Show Choir (Misty O’Dell/Flickr Creative Commons)

“I think [transitioning to all online is] a smart decision given the circumstances that we find ourselves in this community and in the wider world,” reporters Aala Basheir and Rebecca Michaeli quoted Tyler Hagy, director of the treble and concert choirs and the Fourth Ave. Jazz Company show choir, as saying.

“We have to be cognizant of the challenges that online school poses, but also to the facts that the spread of the disease is again becoming uncontrollable, and to do our part in our school system to lessen that.”

What challenges could there be in rehearsing a vocal ensemble via Zoom? you may ask.

For starters, it’s likely that Mr Hagy, like many choir directors across the country, feels like he needs a graduate degree in online technology just to conduct a choir.

“When we started Zoom rehearsals, we didn’t have any experience with lag and compression,” Michael Wu, artistic director of the Strathmore Children’s Chorus, told “It makes singing together ridiculous. We … laughed our heads off!”

In her blog post, Rebecca Lord offers some solutions to enhance the quality of the rehearsal, even with the inevitable online delay and latency.

On top of that, performers put themselves on mute for the Fourth Ave. Jazz Company rehearsals, as Mr Hagy conducts on the screen.

“It’s kind of a one-way street from the teacher to the student,” he was quoted as saying. “And you just kind of hope that they’re taking in the material and doing what you’re telling them to do and that kind of stuff.”

As a side note, we extend our heartiest congratulations to the faculty and students who bring us The Little Hawk student newspaper. The student publication recently received awards in four categories—newspaper, website (more than 1,500 students), social justice reporting, and election reporting—from the National Scholastic Press Association.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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