SMHS Choirs Keep on Singing During Pandemic Mode


Catie Tang, Staff Member

School has begun and everything is now online. Our choirs have been working on learning repertoire and preparing for future concerts despite current events. Since the start of the school year, choir members have met up on Zoom, and learned to use online platforms to record music. This year, the choir program has a new choir director, Mr. Derek Jamieson. Mr. Jamieson has been teaching the middle school choirs since 2008, and is now also taking on the high school choirs as well. “So far, it has been awesome. I get to see my past students and how they’ve grown and what they are capable of. I am really looking forward to the day we come back to school and start planning retreats and concerts,” Mr. Jamieson said.

Choir meets every day during the school day. At the beginning of the period, Mr. Jamieson leads physical and vocal warmups. Then he goes over the agenda for that day and moves on to teaching the repertoire. On some days, sections of the choir (sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses) will go into breakout rooms to do sectionals. There, section leaders will rehearse the music with their section and give notes and tips to perfect the music. Sometimes after the period, the section leaders and Mr. Jamieson will go over what went well and what to improve on. Choir members use online platforms such as Kami, SoundTrap, and SRF to practice their skills or create music. Kami is used for annotating music, SoundTrap is used for creating music to get a feel of how the choir sounds, and SRF is used to maintain and develop their musicianship. Choir consists of collaboration and the synchronization of a group of people. But, being online comes with many challenges that don’t usually exist in person. “There is a loss of a sense of family and we are unable to hear one another or be able to blend our voices together,” Katherine Rodgers, 10, said.

Despite the challenges that come with online learning, there are some positive outcomes. “Students have more time to develop their music theory skills, and can better focus on individual vocal development,” Rodgers said. “ Even with the obvious obstacles we encounter with online learning, we try to make the most out of it. Singing in a choir is basically every choir kid’s outlet from the stresses in life, so in a way we are grateful to be able to do something similar online,” JT Liao, 10, said.

Even though online choir is vastly different from choir in person, our choirs are able to adapt to recent changes and continue to thrive.