Maryville College Concert Choir conquers singing during a pandemic

The Maryville College Concert Choir is constantly changing and adapting to ensure the safety of its members. Currently, the choir splits into two groups for the first thirty minutes of their meeting time before joining together to rehearse as one group. 

One-third of the choir rehearses inside the Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall while the remaining members rehearse under a tent in the Clayton Center Plaza. In both locations, singers are physically distanced (six feet outside, thirteen feet inside) and wear masks the entire time. 

When asked about the downfalls to this semester’s unique arrangements, Hannah White, Part-Time Choral Assistant, said that the biggest issue the choir faces is having to wear a mask. Masks make diction and enunciation more difficult, take away instructors’ abilities to show how certain words and vowels should “look,” and cause a “lack of personal connection.”

“Choirs are generally very social,” Director of Choral Activities Stacey Wilner said. “Not being able to see each other’s faces creates distance that normally wouldn’t exist.”

Despite missing that personal connection, Wilner said that her students are becoming more independent singers. With unusual rehearsal arrangements and conditions, each singer has had to work more on an individual level as well as with the choir as a whole.

 “We’re physically distant, yes, but we’re closer as a group,” said fourth-year choir member Jenni Grover. “We have to work harder than before to carry our parts.”

Choir rehearsal has only been canceled once this semester due to inclement weather, and they have plans to move inside to the Ronald and Lynda Nutt Theatre once the weather gets too cold to remain outside.

While most choir performances have been canceled or postponed for the fall semester, the Maryville College Concert Choir will be putting on an informal performance in the Clayton Center Plaza the week of homecoming; this performance is open to all and will be livestreamed on the choir’s Facebook page for those unable to attend in person.

To keep up with the Maryville College Concert Choir, you can follow them on Facebook (friends of MC concert choir) or Instagram (@mcconcertchoir).

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