School’s ‘Virtual choir’ finds the right note

POTSDAM — Attending school from home didn’t stop some creative A.A. Kingston Middle School students from doing what they love — singing as a group.

The AAK Show Choir decided to participate in a “virtual choir” project in which the students recorded themselves singing their individual parts at home and then sending them off to music teacher Matthew Gayle to edit into a full choir performance.

The students had been working on the piece, titled “One Voice, One Song” since September. Those involved in the extracurricular activity had been meeting once a week.

“It was kind of an older song. We were supposed to be performing at the Norwood Village Green Concert at the end of May,” Mr. Gayle said.

Then school doors were closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the music continued.

“Early on, when school started to close, a few videos popped up on YouTube showing the virtual choir idea. We thought, since the idea was already out there, it was a good idea to let the kids sing together even though they were not in the same room,” Mr. Gayle said.

He created a practice track for the students to sing along with, and the rest was up to them.

“They recorded their own parts, sent them to me and I put it back together. It was a bit of a learning curve. I think I got it pretty smoothed out by the end,” he said.

Nine students participated in the performance.

“It was a way for the kids to still get to hear how their music would have turned out. They worked so hard on learning the songs all year. It was a shame they couldn’t finish it. This gave them closure,” Mr. Gayle said.

He said the lyrics were especially appropriate for today’s world:

So many voices waiting to be heard

So many people with promises deferred

But in the darkest hour your hope is not in vain

Just hold on ‘cause the light will shine again

And we’ll be one world, one voice, one song

Love is here and this is where we all belong

Closer every day, each in our own way

Till we’re one world, one voice, one song

“It felt like the message of the song really happened to fit our situation right now,” he said.

The performance can be viewed at

Mr. Gayle said another video will be upcoming that will combine singers from the middle and high schools.

“They can participate if they want,” he said.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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