A standout season

LN’s show choir has had a phenomenal season so far despite all the changes due to COVID-19

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Kalissa Moody, Staff Member

Sophomore Jasmine Asumang is in her second competition season in Lawrence North’s show choir. As the alto section leader for Legacy, Asumang has seen many changes and newfound challenges that the pandemic has brought over the last year.

While lack of motivation and other struggles have crept in the back of her head at times, Asumang and her peers have managed to project through the masks, holding their own among the other competing schools.

“Both groups have improved a lot, and I think that has something to do with COVID-19. It has made us change how we do and learn things,” Asumang said.

Show choir is a very inclusive performing arts class that combines the singing of a choir class with choreography then competing for regional titles. Legacy is a mix of boys and girls while Bella Bravada is an all girls ensemble. Both groups have faced changes in terms of learning, practicing, and completing their routines due to hybrid scheduling and restrictions in relation to COVID-19. Though they have not let this stop them from improving, it has made them long for their regular competition season, furthermore a season without masks.

“This year is definitely pushing our kids to the max but they’re doing a spectacular job with it,” Choir Director Elizabeth Warrner said.

Competition days in the past have been 24-hour events, including multiple performances, watching competitors from other schools, scoring, accepting titles, as well as arriving home later than 1 a.m at times. This season, groups from each school perform back to back only once at a given time in the day. This leaves nothing more than a few minutes for performers in both groups to change their entire costume not to mention hair and makeup for the next set. This also means that students don’t get to watch their competitors, or accept their titles, which is usually a very celebratory moment.

“They come in every day with a mask, have never complained, and I don’t have to ask them to stay apart. It’s the fact that they are still making connections and celebrating one another even with so many changes,” Warrner said.

As show choir is already physically demanding enough to earn a gym credit, requiring a facial covering such as a mask has added a new level of difficulty to their performance. Along with singing, dancing and social distancing, breathing is now added to the long list of things the performers have to fully focus on during show time.

“Although we’ve been through this whole pandemic it feels good to be able to compete and still go to competitions, even though they’re not the same as last year,” Asumang said.

In March 2020, after the first quarantine was issued, a group of students within show choir referred to as the Student Leadership Team took it upon themselves to make sure that the sense of family and strength they’d built wouldn’t be damaged by the effects of COVID-19 in the upcoming year. They held zoom meetings about things like scheduling, practices and new competition rules to make sure that things would go as smoothly as possible.

“We sat down and started thinking, ‘Okay how can we make show choir at least similar in spirit to what it always has been?,’” Warrner said.

In prior years, most of the singing and dancing performed throughout the season was learned by students over the summer, leaving them a little more than a semester to perfect it before performing. This year, the changes have led to everything being taught in that semester leading up to the first competition making every class and every practice vital.

“Since we’re mid season in a pandemic, there have been some setbacks with things like practicing abilities,” Junior Ja’Mia Long, Legacy and Bella Bravada Dance Captain, said.

After school practices are almost daily to ensure that each member of the group is insync at all times. Additional weekend practices are added to the schedule as needed. These practices can be extra helpful seeing as only half of the class is in person each day due to the hybrid schedule that we currently run under. Even under these circumstances both groups managed to place second runner up out of all the other schools participating in their first competition, and fourth runner up in their second competition this season.

“The hardest thing is the hybrid schedule. It’s hard to only see half the kids most of the time because we have to reteach over and over again, and it can be very confusing. You feel as if you aren’t accomplishing anything, and it can be very difficult,” senior Antonio Ferran, Dance Captain and Bass Section Leader, said.

With between 60-70 members, unity and family are things the choir prides itself in. This unity is present on stage and off stage, as many members look to their peers to confide in, to celebrate with, or for motivation.

“The most enjoyable part is really the friendship and sense of family that we have when we step into the classroom or join the zoom. We’re all friends, we’re all family, we’re all happy,” Long said.