Radford High School Chamber Ensemble makes music apart, together

Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 11:31 PM EDT
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RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ) - The arts have been hit hard by the pandemic, making it almost impossible to practice together in the same room.

Radford High School has found a way to get by. The Chamber Ensemble has used its voices and technology to keep making music. Each student sang individually using a camera and microphone, then all voices were layered together with editing software to create a harmonious piece.

“It’s just so cool to see us all together because I wasn’t so sure who is in the other classes, so it was cool to see everyone and hear us all together,” said sophomore Erin Wilson.

The choir room is pretty empty this year, with only half the class coming in twice a week.

“To not be able to have that same experience with all of the kids together has really been hard this year,” said director Darren Goad. “I needed to come up with a way that I could still showcase what the kids can do and show off their musical talents.”

Inspired by other groups around the nation, Goad put his students and himself to the test. He’d never edited a video in his life, but online tutorials and his passion kept him focused to edit the piece for nearly 10 hours.

“With the pandemic we took a big hit because so many people were afraid to come back and participate in an ensemble,” Goad said. “To be able to make beautiful sound together has always been what brings me to work every single day.”

Students recorded themselves singing while listening to “Ad Astra” by Jacob Narverud through headphones. Their recordings came back a cappella for Goad to put together.

The students say they learned a lot about themselves in this process.

“It taught me that I don’t like looking at myself on a phone on a screen, but it also taught me to be more confident in my voice and to just sing out because it really is just a phone and you’re singing to yourself,” said senior Harper Minarik.

“I think it helped me gain confidence in myself because a lot of the time you don’t really know what you sound like,” said junior Ellie Lovik.

Perhaps a silver lining in it all: more one-on-one time with the teacher.

“We want people to know that we are still performing and we are going to keep performing no matter what happens,” Goad said.

You can watch the whole video here.

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