Mayo Choir fights silence with pandemic running rampant

With COVID-19 still being present, all in-class activities for Mayo High School are still unavailable; students cannot come back to the classrooms anytime soon. As a result of this safeguard, the Mayo Choir has had to struggle with distance learning at a greater level than other classes due to the fact that singing over mics and through Google Meets are both practically impossible. 

Before COVID-19, choir was a class that required communication and engagement from a large group of students working together to create a beautiful piece of music. During distance learning choir has turned into more of a solo job. Without other people singing with you, it can become more difficult to stay on your parts and learn new songs.

During the first attempt to sing together in class, Mrs.Humke had students sing parts with just their audio in a Google Meet. Then she worked with students to mix the audios and the backtrack to create a recording of our first song. Many factors go into a production like that including the use of microphones of varying quality by each singer, dealing with audio delays, the degree of ambient noise or having a quiet area at home for each singer, and many other factors. Even the quality of the internet and the wiring in each home impacts the quality of the music.

Besides trying to find a way to have students sing together, Mrs. Humke spoke about how she spends “hours preparing slides and work for her students” to learn dynamics and other music-related activities like who am I’s on musicians, Name that Tune on older songs, and many more activities that keep her students engaged in class. With distance learning she has been able to take more time with things like this because class is normally taken up by preparing music for upcoming concerts.

Like all good teachers do, Mrs. Humke worries that she’s “not meeting her students needs during distance learning.” She wishes she could do more, since lots of kids look forward to their senior year, and for those who have been in choir for three years, missing out on their last winter concert and possibly all of the other performances can really impact them.

Mrs. Humke’s hope for this year is to help her students stay connected with music and with their fellow classmates. She also wants her students to “learn how they can use music as an outlet for their own stress, mental health, and overall well-being” but also to better themselves as singers in the process. If she can teach her students to gain a greater understanding and appreciation for how they respond to and create music, she would be happy.

If schools were to return to in class, there would still be plenty of complications to deal with.  There are no set-in-stone regulations that are in place, but some that are standard like wearing masks and staying six feet apart would be mandatory. However, the size of Mayo’s music room cannot support the size of the class standing six feet apart, so finding a new area to practice in would also become a complication

No one knows really when we will return to class. There are so many factors going into this pandemic alone not including how schools would function. Mayo High School will continue to improve and adapt to better help students.

If you are looking to join choir you can get in contact with Mrs. Humke at her email