The music program at Hayes High School hasn’t let the pandemic stop it from showcasing student talent as it has begun recording and posting digital concerts.
Director of Choirs Dr. Dara Gillis said the program started doing the virtual performances to allow students to continue making music as safely as possible.
“We started doing virtual performances to allow the students to feel they were still making music as they have in the past,” Gillis said. “We also wanted parents to see that, even in these unusual times, we are still singing as much as we can.”
The process to create the virtual performances is “quite complicated,” she added.
“First, my co-teacher, Emerson Slicer, and I make a master track which the students hear and even see when making their recordings,” Gillis said. “This let’s them hear their own voice part as well as the parts of the other voices when recording. In some cases, it also allows them to see me conducting for them.”
Gillis said the next step is for students to record their individual part for the song.
“The students then have to use two devices to actually make their video recording,” she said. “They have our master track playing from their computer while they wear headphones to hear it. They also have to set up nearby a cell phone or a separate device that will record video and audio of them singing. They share this video with us. The videos from each performer are then synced together to create one single performance.”
Natalie Hohman, a sophomore, said she thought the virtual performance was “a great way to showcase what we have done safely.”
“The process of recording the virtual performance was simple,” she said. “I liked that I was able to record as many takes as I wanted to ensure that my part of the performance was the best possible. The difficult part about the virtual performance was that I wasn’t able to sing and balance my voice with the rest of my choir. Overall, I think that the virtual performance was an interesting experience and a fun way to showcase all of the choirs.”
Senior Meredith Keller said the virtual concert was “a whole new experience unlike any other.”
“Each person would record them singing by themselves so the recording process was more like singing a solo than singing in a choir,” she said. “This was challenging in both good and bad ways. Singing by myself, and I’m sure others would agree, pushed myself to really learn the music and make sure I was 100% confident in things like diction, intonation and dynamics. The process was a little difficult when it came to listening to other parts across the choir because there was no live choir to tune or blend to.
“Although it wasn’t a live performance, I’m glad about how it turned out,” Keller added. “The performance wouldn’t have been the same if it wasn’t for our director, Dr. Gillis, who really pushed us to do our best and continues to push us. I hope the community will enjoy the recorded performance.”
The community can view the performances on the Delaware City Schools Facebook page, which can be found at facebook.com/delawarecityschools.
Gillis said another video prepared by the Hayes Singers will be posted next week.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.