By VALLIKA NAYAK ‘21 & SHRIA PRAKASH ‘22
The holiday season is a busy time of year for music students, especially this year. Under normal circumstances, students who are a part of the Tri-M Music Honor Society hold concerts or other holiday events around the community to showcase their musical talents. Now, due to COVID, the EHS chapter of Tri-M holds virtual concerts. This year, they created two separate videos: a lip-syncing sing-along and a holiday compilation of instruments and voices.
The concert repertoire is similar to that of an in-person event. However, the process of learning, memorizing, and performing holiday songs virtually differs greatly from the normalcy of in-school practice. One problem that arises with virtual concerts is online rehearsals. Depending on the medium of the performance, whether it be orchestra, band, or choir, the situation differs. An orchestra student, Alyson Zhang ‘22, describes her experience with rehearsals during this pandemic: “My partner and I picked a piece and practiced on our own. When we felt ready, we met up while following social distancing guidelines and practiced together because our string instruments can be played easily with a mask on.” After learning and rehearsing their songs, students create individual videos for their part. If a song is performed by a group, all of the members’ videos are stitched together in order to create a blended sound. Once each song is finished, all of the videos are compiled into a montage of holiday music.
When filming the videos, another side effect of performing in unfamiliar circumstances is the students’ change in levels of readiness. We asked a choir student if she felt prepared to perform virtually.
“I felt less prepared than I normally would because virtual performances are different from live ones. If you make a mistake, you have to record it again, and you don’t get to hear how all the other voice parts sound all together. It can be weird hearing just your own voice for a song that is meant to have more parts, especially if you’re not singing the melody,” said Pooja Vadul ‘21. In addition, setbacks may occur when adjusting to any new environment (in this case, virtual learning), but when one is performing while doing so, distractions can interfere.
When asked about her biggest challenge while filming the video, Emma Mohanty ‘22 described the struggle of “…recording at home. From the different noises of cooking in the kitchen to sirens outside, there were frequent interruptions. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed recording the video, seeing the faces of all the other Tri-M members and experiencing the beautiful music they made!”
In light of the current pandemic, school has been virtual, and so has the music honors society at EHS. Tri-M created a video this holiday season that they sent out by email on Friday, December 18th. Students that participated in the video shared their experiences with adjusting to a new environment, practicing their music, and filming the final product. The contrast between the in-school experience and online learning is evident from these students’ responses. Although the means of performing in the future are uncertain, Tri-M members will be back next holiday season to make music once again!
Click here to watch the Tri-M Holiday Compilation video.
Click here to watch the Tri-M Holiday Sing-A-Long.
Photo Credit: Tiffany Mei ’22