Cal Poly Choirs didn’t let the pandemic stop them from practicing music.
Cal Poly Choirs will be holding a virtual concert on June 8, at 7 p.m. in lieu of their winter concert, which was cancelled due to COVID-19.
The concert is a video compilation of all of the choir members singing from the past few months, and was put together by Cal Poly faculty member Laura Kramer. The video will be showcased for the first time on FeelitLIVE, an event and experiences live streaming platform, and will be followed by a post-concert talk with all of the members.
The performance was created by filming videos of each individual choir member singing alone and then adding the videos together into a song. After a song was complete, the choir would move on to record a different song over the course of a few weeks until they completed the entire set for the virtual concert.
A virtual spring concert isn’t what choir members and faculty expected, but they quickly embraced the situation.
“It does give the students a sense of celebrating their work,” choir director Scott Glysson said. “That’s a big part of being in an ensemble, you want that opportunity to share what you have done.”
Not only is the concert an opportunity for the students to showcase their voices, Glysson said it is a chance for the choirs to stay relevant. In a time where people can’t go to large gatherings and attend concerts, he said that this event will help students remember that choir is a part of campus culture.
But, it took some time for students to warm up to the idea of holding a virtual concert.
“I was upset at first, but ultimately, I’m so glad we’re having a concert after all. We are so fortunate that Dr. Glysson was able to work out a way for the choir to hold a concert virtually,” music senior Molly Gooch wrote in an email.
The process to go virtual was new for everyone, requiring students and faculty to make adjustments.
“It was strange recording alone. My favorite part of choir is getting to make beautiful music with all my friends, so not having that experience was hard to get used to,” Gooch said.
Students in the choir and others in the music department worked with Glysson to make the concert possible.
“For a few of the recordings, our section leaders recorded themselves first so we were able to sing along with a track that had another voice on it, which was very helpful,” Gooch wrote. “We are also so grateful to our accompanist Paul Woodring for taking the time to record all the piano parts for us.”
Glysson listened to 70 videos each week of the choir members singing, in addition to recording himself conducting so that everyone would have the same timing.
Glysson said it was difficult to teach choir while unable to hear the group sing together, but teaching online and holding the virtual concert showed him that the choir can still function as a community even when they’re physically apart.
“Anytime you are faced with any adversity at all, if you can do something to rise above that adversity, then that’s a win,” Glysson said. “When we look back on it, we are going to look back on it with pride — that we were able to overcome.”
This will be Gooch’s last performance along with many other graduating seniors, and was far from how any of them expected to end their time in the program.
Normally, seniors would be recognized at the end of their final concert by standing in front of the audience and saying their name, degree and plans for after college.
Instead, choir member Doug Snyder compiled a video that includes snippets of each senior sharing where they’re going next year and a slideshow of pictures throughout the year.
The choir members will see the concert for the first time along with other viewers.
“I am so excited to view this concert. Everyone has worked so hard to put this together and I am so excited to see everyone else’s reaction to the final video,” Gooch said. “It’s definitely bittersweet, but I’m so glad we were still able to meet virtually the past few months.”
Tickets for the concert can be purchased through feel-it.live for $5, or $10 for a ‘backstage pass’ which includes the post-concert session.