Choir has virtual “Go the Distance” concert due to pandemic

photo credit: Jessica Sadberry
Reading the room \\ Mrs. Ashley Dame, choir director, videos the choir’s fall Concert in the gym, where they have never recorded before. “The choirs did amazingly well considering all of the obstacles we had, like having to sing with face shields and having to be so distanced,” Choir president senior Jamie Gammon said. “It was hard to adapt to not being able to hear each other well, but the performance was beautiful and blended and showed tremendous growth.”

writer: Heath Hadley, Editor in Chief

The pandemic presented a new host of challenges for the choir to overcome.

Before, the choir could have a whole production in the auditorium, with packed seats and no safety restrictions.

Now, they had to figure out how to have a concert that was not only safe, but good.

The Wylie East High School Fall Concert “Go the Distance” was entirely virtual, and occurred  Oct. 19, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The challenges were that we had to adapt to a whole new style of singing and we really had to push ourselves to be able to listen because of the distance,” choir president senior Jamie Gammon said.

The directors released the video through email, and told everyone to watch it at the same time.

“It was really strange to sing without an audience because so much of choir is expressive and feeds off of how the audience reacts,”Jamie Gammon said. “It was fun to have the new challenge of being expressive without that audience, and to depend on the people in the choir to keep the emotion growing.” 

In addition to their normal preparations, the choir had to work with personal protective equipment to accommodate district needs; social distanced seating charts, remote learning, track recording, communicating with other campus programs and purchasing new equipment.

“We were so incredibly proud of our students,” choir director Dr. Nathan Dame said. “They worked so hard throughout the entire fall concert, wore face masks and shields and showed so much tenacity and grit throughout the process.”

Mrs. Ashley Dame worked in video editing and Mrs. Sara Rond helped with the logistics and organization of the remote learners.

“We’ve never had a concert in the gym. The logistics of that were really challenging but everyone was flexible and the athletics and theatre departments were very accommodating throughout the process,” Dr. Dame said. “This is one of the most rewarding concerts we’ve ever been a part of.”

The concert is the first time the whole choir has sung together for a concert since the Winter Concert last year. 

“I think we did very well and gave our all, and it felt amazing to sing with everyone. What was specifically special was that all the songs united all these faces and voices that have been scattered all around the city and haven’t been able to sing together for a long time,” sophomore Lucy Ramirez said. “All the effort and hope that we will all get back to how it was before Covid went into this concert.”

The theme, “Go the Distance,” was reflected by the hardships of the year.

“This year we went the distance by loving each other and loving our music despite all of the conditions that made us feel like we shouldn’t,” Gammon said. “Our love for our program is what propelled us to keep going that distance, and defying all the obstacles that encouraged us to give up, and it was our love for one another that made the destination that much more meaningful.”

Despite the restrictions and limitations, the choir preserved and innovated a whole new type of concert experience; one that they will repeat again for their upcoming Winter concert. 

“These Raiders worked so hard in their Odyssey and we are so proud of their amazing work,” Choir Director Ashley Dame said. “Go Raiders.”