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WC continues its rich music program amidst many changes

For the last several weeks, the sound of Christmas music could be heard coming from the western corridor of the Upper School building. WC’s choir and orchestra students have been diligently preparing for the annual Christmas Choir and Orchestra concert set to take place on Tuesday, December 8. WC’s band students have also spent weeks rehearsing for their concert “Timeless!”, set to be recorded on Wednesday, December 9, and released for viewing soon. These singers and musicians have been practicing familiar traditional and contemporary melodies for this event, but being in a performing arts class this semester has been a wholly unique experience.

With most local schools hosting classes virtually or in a hybrid model, opportunities to participate in the performing arts are limited. Under the creative, adaptable, and hard-working leadership of WC’s performing arts teachers, performance groups have been safely meeting since the beginning of the school year.

Choir and orchestra groups have been singing and playing in masks, physically-distanced, and for limited time periods to maintain safety. The Mixed Choir, which is a combination of the women’s and men’s choirs, has not been meeting because of the number of people it involves. Yet they have still been practicing separately and learning some SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) music to share in this December’s concert. Instrumental music teacher Renee Johnson thankfully reports that the mask-wearing does not affect the playing ability of the orchestra members.

Band members have been playing in class with bell covers, staying physically-distanced, playing in smaller groups, and limiting time playing as a full group. Each stand and chair are cleaned after rehearsals, and each student has their own stand and materials during class. Despite all of the quarantines, absences, and playing under non-traditional circumstances, band students have risen to the challenge. Serving in his first year as Instrumental Music Teacher and Band Director at WC, Tim Miner says of his students, “To see and hear them continue to improve and perform at this high level is amazing. We truly are blessed and we praise God everyday for it!”

Johnson also expresses gratitude for being able to continue to play music, “The students and I have been thankful for the opportunity to continue to play music together through all of the difficulties COVID has presented. Music brings us joy and heals our spirits and souls.” Performing Arts Department Chair and Vocal Music teacher Karen Rugg-Klapheke echoes this sentiment, “Although this year has been challenging, it has held many opportunities and blessings for everyone who has participated.”

Following Governor DeWine’s guidelines, this year’s Christmas concert will have a very limited in-person audience of 15% of the number of seats in the Grace Polaris Church sanctuary; this will allow two people per student to attend in person. For everyone else, we have a wonderful team that is making the concert available to watch online via livestream. Bake your favorite Christmas cookies, grab a mug of hot chocolate, and enjoy this beautiful WC tradition and the fruits of much hard work together with your family!

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