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Marion Students “Sing On” During Semi-Virtual Concert

Each year the Marion Choir wears its motto, “Sing On,” on its T-shirts for its winter concert. This year the group “sang on,” and then some. 

Determined that their annual winter concert would go on despite the challenges of COVID-19, director Ann Maine and more than 120 students (including band members) at Marion Junior-Senior High School went above and beyond to produce a “semi-virtual” concert to benefit the Marion Community Christmas fund.

CLICK HERE to go to the playlist of the Marion Winter Concert

 Choir members, inspired by members of the senior class, even included the phrase “even with masks our voices will be heard” on their T-shirts.

The production was “semi-virtual” because even though members of the choir were able to perform in person, they were not able to all sing in the same place at the same time. This meant Maine needed to record each group (two junior high sections and four senior high sections) separately and then mix the videos together.

 Recording the audio required some extra steps to achieve a blended sound. At the suggestion of Director of Technology Dave Wise, Maine had students record audio in different sections of the auditorium while the choir sang, allowing Maine to hear each section. These recordings were mixed together and combined with other recordings. The groups sang with a piano recording to make sure the tempos of each song matched. Thus, each senior high song was a mix of about 12 recordings.

 Individual videos of the students singing solos were also taken, including some lip-synching, and all of the percussion parts were also recorded separately.

Select choir and show choir overcame other challenges, but were able to record their pieces in just two rehearsals. The show choir sang and recorded their audio while seated 12 feet apart, then did the dance to that recording and mimed the solos again.

The 12 Days of Christmas, the concert’s traditional finale, was Maine’s biggest endeavor. First, she sent emails to alumni, staff, and to the families of students asking them to pick a number and send in a video. Elementary band director Ashley Chapin pitched in by conducting the band so Maine could obtain video and a recording. The band and choir recordings were then mixed together before senior members of both groups took signs and made videos at various locations around the school.

The video - which includes retired band director Bruce Thompson, who started the 12 Days of Christmas tradition, and his wife, Shelly, who teaches German and directs Marion’s school musicals, took seven hours to edit.

 “It was worth every second,” Maine said.

 Maine created a YouTube playlist of the concert and posted it at 7 p.m., the traditional concert starting time, at 7 p.m. on Dec. 16. 

The concert included the following performances:

Christmas Angel – Marion Show Choir;

Give Us Hope – Marion Junior Chorus;

Make Them Hear – Marion Select Choir;

Fever – Marion Select Choir;

Bonse Aba - Marion Senior Choir;

Shenandoah – Marion Senior Choir;

Ballad of the Tempest – Marion Senior Choir

I Love You/What A Wonderful World – Marion Senior Choir

Twelve Days Of Christmas – Sing Along

 Proceeds from the concert are donated to the Marion Community Christmas fund, which helps families in need, each year. Anyone wishing to contribute can send a monetary donation to Marion Community Christmas, 5100 Owls Nest Road, Marion, NY 14505 or Venmo funds to @MarionCommunity-Christmas.