The Winter Concert creatively adapts to a virtual performance

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CALEB WELDON/SAGAMORE STAFF

Music directors mixed students’ individual recordings to then play for the audience at the virtual Winter Concert.

With the conclusion of 2020, this year’s Winter Concert offered a positive sendoff full of great music and fun for an otherwise tough year. The concert, which took place Friday, Dec. 18, featured performances from choruses, orchestras and bands from the high school.

The concert looked very different from years past, as it was held on Zoom due to the pandemic. Because all music classes were on Zoom this year, and there is a considerable delay when using it, musical groups were not able to perform live at the concert. Teachers adapted by playing their students’ pre-recorded music instead.

Each musician had to individually play their part and send their recording to their teachers, who then spent up to 12 hours mixing all the recordings together. This definitely caused the concert to lose some of its excitement, as one isn’t able to watch the music be performed on a stage in front of you. Yet, the teachers did a great job mixing the music so that it sounded just as good as if it was played live.

Overall, the music was really enjoyable to listen to. There was a great variety of music this year, especially from the chorus groups, who sang songs from the Christmas classic “Good King Wenceslas” to modern songs like “I Can See Clearly Now.” Even when recorded separately, the voices were mixed into harmonies that allowed the songs to shine.

One standout performance was from senior Nate Arnstein who played both the electric bass and the drums for the song “Walk Together Children.” He even did some audio mixing for other songs as well. His ability to play multiple instruments well truly demonstrated his musical prowess.

One big issue that arose over Zoom was how to use visuals to accompany the music, as staring at a black computer screen listening to the songs is not the most engaging experience. but organizers implemented a broad variety of different collages and slideshows that gave life to the performances.

The Concert Orchestra had a slideshow with pictures of their practices on Zoom throughout the year that allowed the audience to see the process that went into making the music. A quartet from the orchestra had collages with videos of every musician’s individual recording to accompany their rendition of “My Favorite Things.” One choir group even presented a slideshow of funny memes to go along with one of their songs, which kept the audience laughing throughout their performance.

The music collective took this visual entertainment to the extreme, as a small group from the collective filmed themselves wildly dancing to their music with neon lights flashing in the background, which added infinite life to their performance. This was one big plus of the online format that was truly enjoyable, as it allowed groups to be creative and easily add humor or liveliness to their performances. This was most definitely seen when the Concert Band played the “Avengers” theme song in one of their performances.

Although it looked like a concert might not have been possible this year, teachers and students truly delivered through incredibly hard work to produce an entertaining show full of great music and fun.