A screenshot of one of the various virtual sectionals that take place in York’s choirs. (Photo by Kathryn King)
A screenshot of one of the various virtual sectionals that take place in York’s choirs.

Photo by Kathryn King

York Choirs continue to create music like never before

October 23, 2020

When it was announced in August that the school year would start off fully remote, choir students at York questioned how the course would function this year. One of the key components to choir is being able to sing together as an ensemble, and the technological barrier remote learning created made some students wonder whether or not they would be able to make music at all. Despite the changes to the learning format, York choir director Rebecca Marianetti has been working hard to bring her students all the same experiences as in years past, just not in person. 

“I have worked to ensure that we are singing and singing a lot! We are all singers and feel better when we use our voices regularly,” Marianetti said. “On hybrid days, we have been able to sing together, while maintaining distance, and that has also been wonderful.”

Marianetti has her students working as hard as ever, even from home. All three choirs (Cadet, Choraliers and Concert) are still rehearsing new pieces, working in groups with designated section leaders and practicing their sight singing skills. 

While these times have been trying, it has been incredible to see students rise to the challenge and many have even become section leaders and helped their classmates with the music,” Marianetti said. “I have been able to provide the students with much more individual assessment as well, and it has been exciting to hear individual students more than normal.” 

Concert choir’s section leaders took on a big responsibility, as they are in charge of leading breakout room rehearsals with their designated vocal parts. The leaders work hard to ensure rehearsals run as smoothly as they possibly can over Zoom, and students are learning the new music correctly. 

“Being a section leader has been a fun new challenge for me to tackle,” senior Anna Collins said. “I felt awkward at first, but as the semester progresses, I’m becoming more confident in what I’m doing. Everyone is super nice and I’m happy that I’m able to help out Mrs. Marianetti and that I was given this opportunity.” 

Remote learning gave the choirs more opportunities to release performances technologically, which is something York has never done in this capacity before. With the help of music production teacher Mr. Gemkow and some editing software, the choirs have found a way to make their performances accessible online to the school community. 

“We are currently making a recording of all choirs to share with the school community, and next week will start on small ensemble pieces. No doubt it is difficult to compile these pieces, but with the help of Mr. Gemkow, we are learning to use Soundtrap to edit as well.”

Despite the challenges remote learning can sometimes pose for choir, a lot of the students are very happy to be back singing after such a long break. The majority of students have found it to be an amazing break from all the stressors of Zoom classes, college applications or whatever else is going on during these trying times. 

“Although being remote is not the best situation, I am glad to even have the opportunity to sing,” sophomore Paige Greve said. “Choir is one of the biggest highlights of my day. It is really nice to see other people singing, even if it’s through a screen.” 

Though the district has announced the switch back to remote learning through Nov. 4, the remainder of this year will undoubtedly prove productive for all of York choir. Marianetti is devoted to using music as an outlet for herself and her students during this difficult time. 

“Music is incredibly important right now, and we must keep creating and singing and breathing in music to carry on as a community,” Marianetti said.  

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