The Beat Goes On: High School Choirs Improvise In The Age Of Coronavirus

The resulting video is a huge online success, with 100,000 views and counting. It was picked up by local news and even featured on Access Hollywood!

Walsh’s class made one of the first virtual choir videos, but now educators all over the country are getting in on the fun.

Greg Gardner is the music director of Camden Catholic High School in Cherry Hill, N.J. With all the state’s schools closed, he also had to find a way to connect with his students outside the choir room.

“My students genuinely miss being in the halls of Camden Catholic,” Gardner says, “I genuinely miss teaching my music classes.”

Both teachers lamented the fact that software programs like Zoom and Google Hangout have too much lag time for choirs to practice. Instead, Gardner decided to get his students practicing on their own.

Once a day, his students send in a 10-minute voice memo of themselves practicing a song. Then, on Fridays, they send in a video of the finished product. From those submissions Gardner creates his virtual choir. He wants to get his students performing every week.

Gardner says it’s been a lot harder than he expected: “There’s no magic app or plug-in that will do this for you. It just takes hours and hours of work.”

He actually uses several different software programs to put his videos together. One helps him line the videos up in the right order, another synchronizes them, so they start at the correct time, and yet another aligns the sound and video so the students are all singing in unison.

For their latest video? Gardner’s students created a virtual version of their annual Spring Cabaret.

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