A Look At How USU Choirs Have Continued On During The Pandemic
Choirs at Utah State University are still rehearsing in the midst of a pandemic, but what are they doing to spread music while also working to not to spread COVID-19?
“We’re a choir separated with masks, no audience, making videos to broadcast,” said Dr. Cory Evans, director of choral activities at Utah State University.
Last semester, the choirs would rehearse in a tent outside the engineering building.
“We finally stopped rehearsals last year when there was snow blowing into the tent and the kids’ music was flying,” Evans said.
New precautions had to be taken as the choirs moved inside. Now only half of the choir can come to Monday and Friday rehearsals. The entire choir meets on Wednesdays in the concert hall, but all rehearsals are only half an hour. The students wear masks while singing and sit six feet from each other. Though it's safe, singing in these conditions has its downsides.
“When you're sitting next to someone, you can hear your part,” said Cassidy Noor, who sings with University Chorale. “You can blend better. But when you feel singled out, it's hard to judge if you're singing loud enough or soft enough.”
“Tuning is hard, being together is hard and just the community feeling has been hard,” said Utah State University Chamber Singers member Rachel Worthen Grob.
Though it's difficult to rehearse together with COVID restrictions, students are still grateful to be singing.
“I'm glad that it worked out in the end because it was something I was looking forward to,” said Dallin Clark, who is also a member of the Chamber Singers. “It was a relief to learn that they were gonna find a way to make it doable.”
All choir performances since the beginning of the pandemic have been recorded. Evans said he loves the challenge of finding new ways to share music.
“We're forced to do things that are engaging and keep you going,” said Evans. “The worst thing we could do is just stop.”