Singing and Dancing Our Way Back to In-Person School

Kate Tourison and Jasmine Kwok

After more than a year of virtual singing, dancing in bedrooms, and acting through a screen, members of Centennial’s fine arts program are ecstatic to be back in the building. Between seniors who are hopeful to spend their last year of high school COVID-free and underclassmen who are experiencing some of their first moments in their classrooms, students could not be more excited to resume in-person choir, theater, and dance.

Choir students are especially relieved to finally sing together, as the virtual year consisted of each vocalist recording themselves singing from their bedrooms in order to piece each voice part together. “We recorded little parts of our songs on an app called Soundtrap and we just connected pieces together,” Audrey Gill, a senior member of the Chamber Choir, Bella Voce, and the C# Acapella Group, mentioned. “It just didn’t sound great because you had to sing acapella. It sounded more artificial.” 

Junior Abigail Ben further described the exuberant energy that can be found in the choir room. “I can see people face to face and I can really see the energy build up. Honestly, there’s just so much more happiness.” Never having been a part of Centennial’s full choral experience, Ben is looking forward to performing in front of an audience in the school’s auditorium.

“I feel like concerts are always big nights and we’re always ready to do them,” Ben reflected. “Ms. Vanover is always excited to show parents and other students what we’ve worked on.” 

Despite things finally feeling normal once again, COVID still presents challenges for choir students to reach maximum potential. “It’s harder to have the full sound you want because the mask is restricting. We have to sing with our mouths open as wide as we can for the tall vowels,” Gill noticed. As a longtime member of the program, she understands the importance of proper technique for creating a hearty, unified sound. “It’s also harder to breathe because in order to have a good sound, you have to inhale a deep breath. It’s still possible, though!” 

Regardless of masks or social distance protocols, it’s safe to say that students definitely prefer being back with all of their friends and participating in in-person events. Senior member of Centennial’s Theatre Company and newly appointed theatre apprentice, Andrew Pavuk, commented on the renewed sense of passion and excitement radiating throughout the theatre department. 

“I’ve been doing [theatre] all my life, but COVID made me appreciate it more and want to do it more,” revealed Pavuk.

For the performing arts, it is essential to maintain a sense of community and unity in order to produce genuine performances and shows. Even over the computer, theatre classes introduced activities that would allow students to connect and bond over the impersonal setting. 

Autumn Miller, a freshman in Theater Company, revealed how she was able to have a wholesome theater experience online last year; “In my previous school, Dunloggin, we did ‘Drama Meets,’ where we were able to produce a play and musical together.” 

With this year being her first in Centennial’s theater program, Miller is already involved in the school’s fall production of The Winter’s Tale.

Performing online does not compare to being back on a real stage, but that isn’t to say that there weren’t some fun virtual performances! Brandon Goldman, a sophomore dancer in Centennial’s Dance Company, provided insights on how they executed their end-of-year performance last spring. 

 “We did the end of year recital from our houses and the videos were all put together,” Goldman said. The energy online, however, cannot compare to the lively dynamic in the classroom. “Now I’m just excited to be back in person and be able to do some of the events that we couldn’t do virtually,” he continued.

Akin to the struggles faced by the choir department, Centennial’s dancers could be found recording videos of themselves doing their assigned choreography by means of virtual performances.

 “I think virtual was definitely really hard because we had to learn the choreography all mirrored,” senior counterpoint capitan and member of Dance Company, Francesca Cumello, illustrated. “It was difficult because we had to create the marching band showcase, the winter spectacular, the nutcracker, all of that.”

Regardless, the two dancers are optimistic about being back in the studio and are eager to show off their talents during various in-person productions. “A big part of dance is the camaraderie,” Cumello concludes. “I’m really excited to have shows in person with all of my friends and produced by Mrs. Clark.”

Being back may not be exactly as it used to be; still, students are more than happy to be back performing in-person once again. Behind all those masks are smiles and laughter, and before long, choir, theatre, and dance will have revived Centennial’s once empty auditorium.


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