Directors plan Covid-friendly Christmas performances

One option is for a drive-thru event for the choirs

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Cathedran file photo

Unlike last year, there will be no Christmas choir concert in the auditorium this year.

Ellie Moores, Reporter

With Covid-19 resulting in most students — other than athletes — being restricted from campus, there are many unknowns regarding school events and activities. This includes the annual choir and band Christmas concerts. 

Choir director Mrs. Marian Bender already took on the challenge of planning a concert in the midst of a global health crisis. With the Marion County Health Department forcing schools to move to virtual learning, she and her students face even more obstacles. 

In years past, concert choir, show choir and the Irish Guys with Ties showcased their talent and performed Christmas music in the auditorium with their friends and family in the audience. 

But just like everything else in 2020, the concert will look different this year. With the Marion County Health Department’s guidelines prohibiting audiences to gather in the auditorium, Bender has come up with a safe way for the choirs to spread holiday cheer this year: a drive-thru Christmas concert. The choirs would perform in an outdoor area where cars filled with family and friends could drive by and enjoy the show. Putting on the concert this way would allow for the singers to gather in an outdoor space to social distance and also for the audience to view the show in a safe way. 

However, Covid-19 makes planning in advance difficult, so no specifics are scheduled at this point. For now, the choirs will continue to rehearse over Zoom, preparing their Christmas music for whatever type of show they end up putting on. 

Band director Mrs. Kathy McCullough faces similar challenges trying to plan the annual band concert. But just like Bender, McCullough is making sure the band will be able to perform in some capacity. 

“Before Covid, we would do our usual yearly Christmas concert with the concert band performing five or six Christmas songs, sometimes a small ensemble performing a Christmas tune, and the color guard doing a routine to a recorded Christmas song,” McCullough said. In the past, Santa Claus himself occasionally made an appearance at the concert, bringing candy canes for the audience. 

But plans have changed due to Covid-19 and school being virtual. McCullough has decided to put on a virtual band performance in the concert’s place. “What we are going to do is record everyone individually on one Christmas song and ‘publish’ it as a virtual band performance,” McCullough said. In addition, the color guard will virtually perform two routines set to Christmas music, which they are currently creating. 

Putting on a virtual band performance is no easy task, but McCullough’s son has experience producing virtual performances and will assist her in the process. 

While McCullough is grateful that the band will be able to play their Christmas music, she is dismayed that they will not be able to perform anytime soon. “My challenge is to try to find a challenge for each student during a time that they can’t really do the Number-1 thing they do: perform,” she said.

But despite all of the challenges, McCullough said she is proud of how the band is handling these challenges. “While this is not an optimum situation, these students are doing as well as anyone possibly could do,” McCullough said.