Copper Hills Madrigals accept challenge to perform virtuallyFeb 10, 2021 02:43PM ● By Jet Burnham
The 2020–21 Copper Hills Madrigals will be performing for the Utah Music Educators Association Conference this month. (Photo courtesy of Marc Taylor.)
By Jet Burnham | [email protected]
Copper Hills High School’s top performing Madrigals choir has been selected to perform at the Utah Music Educators Association Conference this month. Choir director Marc Taylor is thrilled with this invitation, an honor earned by the hard work and dedication of the last few years.
“We got to the point where we're consistently doing well in our festivals and achieving what we want to,” he said. “We've had several honors, and so now it's time for me to shine in front of my colleagues.”
Unfortunately, the achievement won’t be quite the experience he has always envisioned. Like everything else this year, the conference is being held virtually. So instead of performing live to music teachers from around the state, the Madrigals’ performance will be viewed through a pre-recorded video presentation.
Taylor considered opting not to accept the invitation to perform and wait until his choir could perform in person another year. He also knew he could set his expectations low for this year—no other music teacher would blame him for simplifying his program because of pandemic precautions and challenges.
“The question was, do I slap this together and call it good and have the sympathy of my colleagues saying it was good for having to do it during COVID?” Taylor said. “Or, do I still work my kids, have them put in the time and the effort and teach them what they need to be taught to be excellent anyway, and come up with this great video product, with great sound, that I can share with my colleagues and be proud of? So we are going to be brave and put forth our best efforts in this recorded format, under less-than-ideal circumstances.”
Taylor is determined to blow everyone away with a great performance, captured in a cinematic, expressive and visually interesting-to-watch audio-visual program.
CHHS students from the advanced video broadcasting class filmed the choir’s performance video, using high-tech equipment, lighting, multiple cameras positioned at various angles and multiple takes.
“These young adults amaze me more and more every day, and it's quite the site to see them in action,” broadcasting instructor Scott Silver said of his students, whose skills are in great demand this year due to increased need of pre-recorded and live-streamed videos.
The choir’s theme for the performance is “Love Will See Us Through,” so the pieces the students will sing for the 30-minute program are about the wellspring of love, passionate love, family love, divine love and transcendent love.
“There's kind of been a trend in the choral world that when you are a featured choir, you come up with thematic material,” he said.
Even though the invitation to perform at the conference came during the summer, there was a chance the conference would be cancelled. When plans for a virtual conference were finally announced, it didn’t leave performers much time to prepare. The conference organizers asked that the recording be submitted two weeks before the conference, scheduled in early February. Fortunately, the Madrigals didn’t have their usual busy schedule of holiday performances—due to COVID—and could hold a lot of extra rehearsals.
In early December Taylor said, “I'm just hoping that nothing goes wrong and we'll be able to meet together with no more COVID shut-downs so we can have all these rehearsals. We'll be eating, drinking and singing songs about love for the next two months.”
CHHS’s band, under the direction of John Matthews II, was also one of the several music groups invited to showcase their skills at the conference this year.
Despite the challenges and limitations, Taylor is glad he decided to go ahead and participate in the conference.
“I think it's important for us to take a stand now and continue to prove to ourselves and the world that music can go on in spite of the pandemic,” he said. “We need it. The world needs it. And our souls need it.”