Fine Arts classes including Band, Orchestra and Choir have been struggling to maintain an active musical curriculum over virtual platforms. Because of technological obstacles such as lag time or choppy internet connection, creating music simultaneously is not an option. WHS’s Gospel Choir program, under the direction of Stephen Colella, has taken a unique approach to zoom meetings.
A Gospel Choir zoom rehearsal starts with their staple gratitude exercise. Students have an opportunity to share a “glad moment,” to highlight something they are grateful for. Even before the pandemic, choir students have emphasized the value of gratitude. Now, more than ever, taking the time to reflect on good moments is necessary.
Physical and vocal warmups are next, followed by breakout rooms to work with section leaders. Near the end of the period, the groups come back together to talk through issues and set goals for the next class day.
“Meeting over zoom without a doubt has brought our groups closer together. There’s a lot of trust that has been put into our hands by our director and even our own peers, and I believe this is why our virtual meetings have been very successful. Everyone is upholding their part despite the circumstances; if anything, this shows that we’re in for a lot of fun and surprises this year” says Bruno Diaz, Sophomore.
In addition to virtual zooms, Wheeling’s Gospel Choir rehearses Monday nights in person. Masks on, six feet apart, and outside with strict regulations, rehearsals look a little different this year. Nevertheless, to Kiannah Hayes, Senior, it’s the highlight of her day. “A lot of students like me are constantly on the go, and to have a program like gospel to keep us grounded and humble is something incredible.”
The transition between virtual and in-person was pretty smooth. According to Mr. Colella, “The process has been amazing, actually. The first rehearsal was so much fun to finally be able to see each other again and start to figure out what it’s like to sing with the masks on. Things got very close to “normal” and started clicking for sure by our 2nd rehearsal. We are starting to find a groove now that the year is underway.” A lot more music is ahead for Gospel Choir, and they won’t let Zoom get in the way!