Maple Ridge Secondary’s Choral Department are showing what is possible when hard work, ingenuity and strong voices are strung together.
Second year choir teacher, Claire Oliverio, and 57 singers pooled their talent together to lift local spirits this Christmas with, “Home for the Holidays,” a free virtual choir concert, which will premier on Friday (Dec. 18) at 6:30 p.m. on YouTube.
“I’m very excited to show it,” Oliverio said.
“A lot of work went into it, and they’re super proud, and I’m proud of them.”
All four MRSS choirs took part in the endeavour, which required a great deal of extra-curricular commitment.
“With COVID-19, it’s dangerous to sing together in person, so we’ve been doing online choir rehearsals on Zoom at seven in the morning,” Oliverio said.
For the virtual choir concert , each singer would show up individually to the school’s studio, and record their tracks before regularly scheduled classes.
“So one-by-one I recorded all 57 of them,” the choir master said.
“Some of them recorded two songs, and some of them recorded up to five songs if they were in all of the ensembles.”
The students also filmed videos of themselves singing the songs from the comfort of their own homes.
For the past week, Oliverio has been mixing all the voices, syncing them, and layering the videos to make the finished product.
“It’s very cool,” she said, “And it’s only 28 minutes, so it’s a nice bite-size concert, featuring five songs.”
The MRSS Choral Department will sing “When Christmas Comes to Town,”and “Believe,” from The Polar Express; “Santa Tell Me,” by Ariana Grande; and “My Grown-Up Christmas List,” written by David Foster and Linda Thompson-Jenner.
Featured soloists include Elayne Williams in Crescente Concert Choir (Grade 8-9), Sara Cathcart in Aurora Concert Choir (Grade 10-12), and Shianne Schill in Caelum Women’s Chorus (Grade 10-12).
The closer for the show will involve all 57 choir members singing Silent Night.
“We’ve learned sign language for that as well, so it looks really lovely,” Oliverio said.
Viewers can click on the YouTube link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wQuQKX_FD0) just before the concert premiers, and be among the first people to watch the talented young musicians.
“It’s already posted, but it’s not set to play until [Friday] at 6:30 p.m.,” Oliverio said.
“Everybody can log on at 6:28, and there will be a fun little countdown with animations, so it’ll go: 10, 9, 8… and as soon as it hits one, the concert starts playing.
“That way everyone’s experiencing the concert together.”
The virtual concert is free.
“We understand this is a difficult year for everyone, and the ability to still share music is enough to keep our love for singing alive,” Oliverio said.
If viewers find themselves moved to further support the choir program, Oliverio said it would be humbled to receive any donations directly to MRSS.
“It would go towards buying music for the kids, uniforms, computer equipment, microphones, interfaces, extensions, speakers, video editing software, and audio workstations for recordings.”
Maxwell Goddard, is a grade 12 student, who Oliverio said worked diligently with her on the virtual choir concert.
“He is my tech-expert that taught me how to premiere videos on YouTube, audio record, and video edit,” she said.
As a senior in the choir program, Goddard said he has been used to singing in person along with his school mates.
“But, with COVID-19, it’s been a completely new experience recording for the MRSS virtual choir,” he said.
“And I, along with many of my peers, can say it’s been a fun and interesting experience doing a pre-recorded choir concert.
“There’s lots anticipation among me and my friends, and I’m excited to have it be released to the public.”