“Home for the Holidays” will take on an entirely new meaning this year as people across the nation are urged to stay at home in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
While the virus is likely to alter many holiday traditions, Howland High School’s choir and band directors have come up with a way to safely celebrate the season while showing their students’ musical talents.
Choir director Anjanette DePoy has worked with her students to plan a "From our Home to Yours" Holiday Concert. The option to participate in the concert was open to all choir students. Those who were interested in performing a solo auditioned for a part. Fifteen soloists from all three choirs, as well as a student from Tiger Academy were selected to record holiday songs at home. Leading up to their performances, Mrs. DePoy held virtual lessons with the students to prepare them for their recordings. Once the performances were recorded, students submitted their videos, which have been edited into one concert that will be shared with parents, the community and local nursing homes.
“Some of our most memorable concerts and performances are during the holiday season and I wanted this year to be no different, so in this ever changing environment, I decided to have a virtual concert, featuring the students as soloists. I am very happy that students are able to sing for their families, friends, and community, even if it is “virtually”. I think it will be a wonderful evening of great Holiday music, performed by some of the most talented kids in Trumbull county,” said choir director Anjanette DePoy.
Band director Greg Rezabek has also been working with his band students on a winter performance. Recently, he assigned his students an independent study project. The students have been tasked with planning, preparing and presenting a holiday recital in the homes. Each student will be able to select the musical pieces they wish to perform. Each student must establish a practice schedule leading up to their performance. For the performance, students are asked to create a program detailing the recital, don their favorite holiday attire and put on their show whether it be in their living room or on Zoom so even more family and friends can enjoy the performance. Students who take pictures and record their performances will be encouraged to share them to the band booster’s Facebook account so members of the community will also be able to enjoy these “Home for the Holiday” concerts. In January, the band students will submit a written reflection that answers specific questions about the planning, preparation and presentation of the recital.
"I am really excited about the 'Home for the Holidays' recital project. I am grateful that our Howland High School band students will still get an opportunity to perform this December and share their talents. This project will give students a new perspective they don't get with a 'normal' band concert. They will be involved in all aspects of a musical performance from planning the selections, to practicing the music, to creating a printed program and finally performing to their home audience. I am looking forward to seeing and hearing how each student will add their own creativity and originality into their unique personal recitals,” said band director Greg Rezabek.