Camerata Choir perseveres through challenges brought about by COVID-19



The Camerata Choir has returned to performing in-person while following the guidelines for safety.

At 7:30 a.m., students in Camerata Choir unite to share their voices, despite COVID-19 restrictions. Via Zoom, in the quad, or more recently, in the auditorium and Black Box, the choir always finds a place to sing.

Despite facing numerous challenges last year with virtual classes, the Camerata Choir, an advanced choir at the high school, persevered by adapting to constraints and shifting to a virtually-compatible approach to singing. This year, as the high school relaxed restrictions, the Camerata Choir has flourished and has been able to ramp back up to its previous interest with a record class size of 56 people, according to Michael Driscoll, a music teacher and the director of choirs at the high school.

Driscoll said it was very challenging for the Camerata Choir to operate virtually.

“Last year, it was terrible. We were entirely remote from September all the way until early March which was really not fun. There is no way to do an ensemble class on Zoom because there are lagging problems,” Driscoll said.

Hannah Schlosberg, a senior and president of the Camerata Choir, said for the virtual portion of last year students worked on more independent assignments and spent more class time learning the songs.

“The first half of last year we worked on more individual stuff. We would do individual singing assignments and other independent work because we couldn’t rehearse like we normally would. We also worked on smaller group projects and made little videos to show to the class. We were still able to learn the same amount of content but it took a lot longer because we weren’t used to a rigorous pace last year,” Schlosberg said.

Despite these difficulties, Driscoll said meeting outside with the class was a solution that allowed the choir to meet while complying with current COVID-19 restrictions around singing.

“We met a couple of times outside in the fall, but it was just too cold after that. In early March when people started coming back to school, it was decent enough that we could start meeting outside, even though it was pretty cold some days. Even still, we had to be 10 feet apart without a mask outside which was pretty difficult,” Driscoll said.

As COVID-19 case counts dropped, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) started to scale back restrictions in early March last year and allowed students to return to singing inside while taking the necessary precautions. Driscoll said under these new guidelines, Camerata was able to meet in the auditorium and return to a more typical method of rehearsing.

Sophomore and member of Camerata Noah Schlondorff said this year, changes took place following the outbreak of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in January. Similarly to last school year, the class was commonly split up into smaller sections to mitigate the potential impact of the virus and only rehearsed all together when the class was held in the auditorium.

Driscoll said the virtual environment last year, though difficult, taught the choir valuable lessons about utilizing online platforms.

“We have been able to take advantage of putting things on YouTube and even our live performances this year are now online. Overall, I’m trying to shift a lot of stuff online,” Driscoll said.

Schlosberg said this year, the advanced pace of the class is returning and the class has been able to rehearse and perform at a high level in an in-person setting.

“The pace of the class is definitely picking back up this year, as a result of being able to rehearse indoors as well as return to live performances. Dr. Driscoll has done a good job in managing everything because obviously singing is not the easiest thing to do independently,” Schlosberg said. “As a senior, I was in Camerata right before the pandemic hit in sophomore year and I’m glad the class is getting a sort of sparkle back that it lost during the pandemic as we return to a normal year.”