The return to choir


Alyse Zuiderveen

Students in Chamber Choir rehearse for return to normal events in sectionals.

Alyse Zuiderveen, Copy Editor

As the 2021-2022 school year introduces a new normal, returning members of Pleasant Valley High School Choir are experiencing new passion and appreciation for the arts.

When students began preparing for Solo and Ensemble Festival in 2020, they could not have anticipated that they would be unable to perform their solos and ensemble pieces or even begin working on them. 

Following COVID lock downs, the Iowa High School Music Association (IHSMA) released a statement sharing that the Class 4A and 1A Solo/Small Ensemble Festival as well as the Large Group Festival would be canceled. 

In their statement released on March 16, 2020, IHSMA also shared that, “any effort to provide IHSMA participants with a make-up experience should take place only via digital media.” 

This prohibition of in-person events, as well as CDC recommendations, led to choirs across the state of Iowa learning to adapt to Zoom-based instruction. Chamber Choir and the other curricular choirs at the high school spent the last school year rehearsing over Zoom, participating in virtual lessons and recording concerts that would later be watched by virtual audiences.

Senior and third-year Chamber Choir member Cody Connors emphasized the challenges of online learning from the 2020-2021 school year. “Last year was tough– I felt our choir was disconnected in some ways. This year I feel all of us are fully appreciating the in-person full choir experience and growing exponentially as singers and people with that connection,” he said. 

Connors was a part of Chamber Choir before COVID, during online learning, during hybrid learning and is now a part of it as it returns to a new normal. As a result of these experiences, Connors can offer a unique perspective.“Chamber Choir is different this year in the way that everyone is a lot more appreciative of the experience we get as a full choir,” he shared.

For many years, students in Chamber Choir have looked forward to performing at nursing homes during the holiday season, at graduation and for live audiences at concerts throughout the year. During the 2020-2021 school year, Chamber Choir had to adapt by creating videos to send to former viewers. For this reason, first- and second-year Chamber Choir members have never experienced many of the special and unique experiences of Chamber Choir. 

Alyssa Gauss is a junior and second-year Chamber Choir member. Gauss looks forward to performing live and participating in events that were canceled last year. Gauss shared, “Everyone always says what a great time they have at these events and I can’t wait to finally be a part of them!”

Gauss and Connors represent many students who are optimistic about and look forward to the year ahead of them in Chamber Choir. 

While Pleasant Valley’s Chamber Choir is still in the process of adapting to a new normal and maintaining good health while doing so, a return to normalcy promises a return to beloved choir opportunities in the year ahead.