Choir members score top marks in KSHSAA music competition – Mill Valley News


Due to COVID-19, changes have been made regarding the annual competition

By Izzy James

All choirs recently competed in the National Music Competition, all achieving outstanding or excellent marks. Rather than performing live, each entry was recorded and submitted to be judged virtually.

The annual KSHSAA Music Competition was held on Friday, April 9, and many of the competing solo and group choir members achieved high rankings. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the singing competition was electronically recorded instead of the usual live performance.

The adjustments for this year’s event made the process very different from any other according to choir teacher Jessie Reimer.

“This year, we recorded our performance and submitted the video for arbitration. Typically, we go to another high school in the area and perform in front of three judges and other schools. We had different requirements and guidelines set by KSHSAA to help alleviate the stress and challenges of different learning environments,” Reimer said.

A positive element of the new methods had been the possibility of repeatedly recording the performances of the choirs.

“A performance recording pro was able to record more than one take. However, this is also a downside as the recording process can be long and arduous. nervous and excited that comes from performing live in front of an audience and seeing our judges in front of us,” Reimer said.

For Avery Crabtree’s second year, the ability to compete online made for a less scary and less nerve-wracking singing experience.

“We were able to do as many takes as we wanted. In concert, we only have one chance, but since we were recorded, we could do as much as we wanted. We should have worn masks anyway, that part was tough. If we weren’t online and did it in person, I think it would have been scarier. This year we knew we had more of a chance to do that,” Crabtree said.

According to Crabtree, playing with masks made singing harder and more demanding.

“This [masks] took away some of our sound, so we had to sing louder. It was harder to hit notes and harder to listen to everyone because of the masks and having to be six feet away,” Crabtree said.

Reimer thinks singing with masks turned out to be a tough hurdle that the choir members thankfully overcame.

“Playing masked is more difficult because it muffles your sound. They’re also not the easiest things to breathe in, which makes singing harder. However, I am so proud of how the students have adapted to this obstacle. Some of the judges commented on our clear and crisp diction even with masks on,” Reimer said.

Entering the contest involved a few extra steps, including uploading music and creating copies of the recorded performance for the judges. Reimer said the process quickly became time-consuming, primarily because he had to repeat tasks multiple times for all the different choir groups. In the end, it was all worth it for Reimer when the contest results were revealed.

“I shared the information with each choir, group or soloist. We received all 1s and 2s so we were all very excited and proud of the hard work that has gone into the performance, especially considering all the hurdles we had to overcome this year. We also received many helpful comments from the judges which we will continue to implement into our rehearsal process,” said Reimer.

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