Choir Still Performs Despite Covid-19 Holdbacks


Riley Keiter, Writer

The performing arts have given up a lot in the Covid-19 pandemic. Multitudes of shows, concerts, and activities have been canceled in the wake of the shutdown. However, this does not mean that the performing arts are over.

If you happen to be imagining what a Zoom choir class looks like, you probably have a pretty good idea. Students sign onto their Zoom call and get some songs to prepare, and then they sing, at home, alone.

This makes class difficult for some.

“Choir has been a challenge,” junior Kalista Brown said. “It’s definitely hard to do over Zoom because it has such a community. But I can trust that everyone has been doing their part outside of school.”

However, their out-of-class assignments are preparing them for their first live performance in months on Friday, Oct. 9.

“It’s probably going to be partial members of a group,” said choir instructor Laura VanLeeuwen, known as ‘Coach V’. “We’re planning on doing the national anthem.”

This will be the first time since last year that choir got together to perform. In fact, the only people to be in the choir room since then are VanLeeuwen and those auditioning for District Choir or State Choir. They practice in the choir room, with precautions.

“I’ve taken the risers out of my room,” VanLeeuwen said. “I have six-feet markers on my floor, and I can fit about 30 people in my room. We will be able to sing in the space for 30 minutes, masked and facing the same direction. We have to leave the space after 30 minutes of singing and go to a different space or outside.”

They plan on taking these same protocols when school goes back on Oct 19. With a hybrid schedule, it will be a lot easier to mitigate contact between students in choir. 

There are concerns about letting more students go back to schools, but people in choir point out that athletic activities have been back for months.

“I just want things to be fair across the board,” VanLeeuwen said. “I feel that because sports are able to happen, performing arts should have that same equality, with the right precautions.”

It isn’t just VanLeewen that agrees, either.

“It kind of irritates me,” sophomore and dance team member Olivia Cupp-Korb said. “Performing arts were told we can’t [perform], when we have the ability to keep our masks on the whole time, whereas football players don’t keep their mask on the whole time. We have the ability to do it…but they’re telling us we can’t.”

Choir students going back to school does not mean concerts are back on, though. The fall concert has already been canceled by all choir teachers in the Olathe school district. While winter and spring concerts are still in the air, their existence will largely be dependent on the Covid-19 positivity rate around then. Concerts may also be very different than before. 

“We’re going to perform,” VanLeeuwen said. “It might look a little different, maybe it’ll be at Olathe Lake Amphitheatre…but we will perform.”

No matter what happens, students will still be excited to go back.

“I think it’s a good way to spread positivity to people,” Cupp-Korb said. “It could bring a sense of normalcy back into the world.”

Through Zoom or in-person, choir will not stop anytime soon. Many people in the class remain positive and hopeful for the future, which is encapsulated in their motto of the year; ‘We can sing virtually anything.’