The Wooster Chorus spring concert will be shown on YouTube at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 6, 2021. Recorded in April in McGaw Chapel due to restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic under the direction of Lisa Wong, associate professor of music at Wooster and also director of choruses at The Cleveland Orchestra, the concert features music based around the theme of “Home.” Soloists include Omar Tolentino ’21, a psychology major, and Bri Mosley ’24, a first-year student at Wooster this year.
“Our singers have been incredibly resilient this year and have developed a program that is beautiful, poignant, and relevant,” said Wong. With the challenges of the virus, singing in a large group proved more challenging than ever before. “Knowing that singing had the potential to create an increased concentration of aerosols, our number one priority was to keep everyone safe,” she said. Wong explained that each singer wore a thick mask designed for singing, tested, and proven to reduce aerosols by more than 90%, and wanting to err on the side of caution, the singers also distanced themselves 10-12 feet from one another. “Doing this felt quite safe but made it incredibly difficult to sing and to hear one another! We tried a number of different configurations before finally coming up with something that worked. Once we hit our stride, we were able to excel relatively quickly.”
Wong made the decision early in the year to create a video production of what would have been their traditional spring tour program. “Although there is a bit less music than our typical program, there was much more involved on the technical and production side.” Bruce Gigax, former audio engineer for The Cleveland Orchestra, who creates an archival audio recording for the chorus each year and professional videographer Nate Lockwood assisted in developing the production for YouTube.
Wong and her colleagues also found a way to connect remote students and alumni in this project, including them in several of the pieces in the program. “Although it was a bit of a slow and cautious start this year, I am confident that the 2021-22 Wooster Chorus will emerge stronger and more connected than ever before,” said Wong.
Founded in 1964, the Wooster Chorus is comprised of students representing all academic areas within Wooster’s liberal arts program. Third-place winners of the 2018-19 American Prize in Collegiate Choral Performance, and second-place winners of the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music, the Chorus has been praised for its beautiful sound, high level of artistry, creative programming, and engaging performances.