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Saranac Lake High School choirs post Winter Concert online

Saranac Lake High School students including, in front from left, Micah McCulley, Reuben Bernstein and Forrest Monroe sing in the school’s last Winter Concert in December 2019. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

As people try to make the uncertain times of the last year easier to handle, new ways of doing things have arisen to make the best of the situation. The same can be said of the Saranac Lake High school choirs; they just released a recording of their Winter Concert, which would normally be in person in mid-December.

“We wanted to give the seniors at least some sort of normalcy this year,” said Drew Benware, choral teacher at the high school. “Unsurprisingly, people are craving for some sort of music and performance during this time.”

The audio recording of the show is online at https://bit.ly/37NT031. You can also link to it from a Feb. 22 post on the “Saranac Lake CSD” Facebook page, which is accessible through the high school’s website, highschool.slcs.org. The link can be accessed from any device for no cost, so anyone is able to listen to the four-piece-long concert.

The first song, “Dansi Na Kuimba,” is by the Festival Chorus, made up of ninth- and 10th-graders. The second and third songs, “Requiem” and “Give Us Hope,” are by the Concert Choir, made up of 11th- and 12th-graders. The fourth and final song is the “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s “Messiah,” which concludes the Winter Concert every year. Normally, alumni or anyone who knows the chorus would be able to go on stage and sing with the students, but this year, Benware had to reach out to whoever he could to fill the recording.

“I reached out to alumni, other choirs I participate in, and I even have a friend who is a missionary in Africa send in a recording of herself singing the chorus.”

Students recorded their parts with Benware while in his office for lessons, one student at a time. All of the recordings were sent to Joey Izzo of Lake Placid, who mixed them to make it sound like a full choir of students was actually singing all at once. There were around 45 to 50 recordings for the Festival Chorus and 55 to 60 for the Concert Choir.

“We were extremely pleased with how it turned out and happy we were able to put this together,” said Benware.

Coming up for the music department at Saranac Lake High School is an audio-only version of the musical “Oklahoma!” with those recordings going live on March 19 and 20. The high school also just received permission to have the Jazz Band and the men’s and women’s Vocal Ensembles rehearse in person, as those select groups have fewer people than other musical groups. There will also be a future recording of the Spring Concert that will feature the Vocal Ensembles, coming at some point later this semester.

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