How the FHC choir department is handling practicing their music within the confines of the COVID-19 restrictions

How+the+FHC+choir+department+is+handling+practicing+their+music+within+the+confines+of+the+COVID-19+restrictions

Community, friends, and music: three simple things that are found in choir teacher Sean Ivory’s room.

Due to COVID-19, the 2020-2021 school year is a notably different looking year with the hybrid schedule, the early dismissal, and having a choice of doing full online school. Teachers, staff, and students are all having to adapt to these shortcomings, and Ivory is no exception.

This year, he treads on the new ground while attempting to cling onto the singing aspect of the class due to the COVID restrictions.

“I believe the restrictions are necessary but obviously inconvenient,” Ivory said. “It is difficult to sing in a mask and for me, personally, to teach in one. But what we are doing with wearing masks is watching out for each other, so we can all put up with a little inconvenience.”

Looking past the challenges that wearing masks present in a singing class, Ivory and the students have found that, now, there is more time to learn the nuts and bolts of music. When the choir students are unable to sing outside, for that is the only place where they can have masks off and remain socially distant, they explore music history and sight-reading. In past years, the choir has not had as much time to fit in the more “learning” aspect.

“I hope students will gain an experience of the joy of making music together with their friends,” Ivory said. “I hope that choir will be a time of refreshment for them in the midst of their busy days.”

Taking a peek into the choir life, Ivory treads on the new ground as he stills tries to cling onto the singing aspect of the class due to the COVID-19 restrictions.”

— Mr.Ivory

Sophomore Katelynn Heilman—an avid, active, and engaged member of The Central Singers and Treble Chorus—feels Ivory’s actions are just as she would do herself.

“I think Ivory is doing a great job with what he has and is genuinely doing everything he can to make choir a positive experience, which is obviously important,” Katelynn said. “I think I would do exactly as Ivory is [doing], [which is] all that you can do. [I] keep a positive attitude and take every day we get to sing and be together as a choir as a blessing. In the times we live in, that could be taken away any day.”

As Katelynn said, taking everything day by day is important in times like these, and with the rapidly declining weather, the ability to sing outside is quickly dwindling. This is why Katelynn is so adamant about wanting more permanent solutions to the temporary fix that is singing outside.

“We know we can’t sing outside forever,” Katelynn said. “I think we need to do everything we can to get to a place where singing inside is a safe possibility.”

Another choir student, freshman Sarah Hughes who is a member of the Treble Chorus, isn’t even considering the changes that fall will bring, for she is a fully online student.

While each option, hybrid or fully online learning, poses their unique sets of problems, Sarah Hughes has found that her main issue is the lack of community.

“I find it a lot harder to be in the choir than before because I’m not actually singing with others,” Sarah Hughes said. “I’m just learning about music and the voice, which is good, but it’s not the same.”

Considering the unique setup of the year, and the problems that both hybrid and full online present, students are confident in Ivory’s efforts to provide a safe, fun environment. Sophomore Sarah Bethel, an active singer in Treble Chorus, thinks Ivory is doing everything he can right now and is hopeful that, in the future, performances may be an option.

“I think the restrictions have been difficult to get used to at first, but it is totally worth it to keep everyone safe and be able to sing,” Sarah Bethel said. “For singing in the choir, I would like to do some sort of concert even if it is virtual. So far, I like what Ivory has done by taking us to the auditorium.”

Choir at FHC has bounced back from the chaos of the schedule and the virus itself; Room 101 has settled down and is now allowed to practice their art inside once more. Socially distanced, and with masks on, choir has moved to the auditorium instead of outside.

With the unpredictable year, everyone has had to adapt to the school’s ever-changing environment—Room 101 especially.

“Performing music is a chance for humans to work together in a non-competitive way and create something beautiful through cooperation,” Ivory said. “We definitely need more of that in our world. I will try to be patient, understanding, compassionate, and fun to be around all year long.”