Bucks County choir director helps students find solidarity while singing solo

Kim Glovas
May 19, 2020 - 1:08 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A Bucks County high school choir has not let social distancing get in the way of its art. 

The director of Council Rock High School North’s vocal groups has found a creative way to allow students to perform.

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Ryan Carlin admits, with more than 100 voices at times, it's a lot of work and time to put together — but, he says, what else do we have now but time?

Carlin says he started with a video of himself conducting.

"They were watching a video of me conducting, and hearing their part played for them,” he said. “And then they submit the videos individually. And then I edit all together the audio, and edit the videos together."

It’s a fitting process for their performance of “Tshotsholoza,” a traditional call-and-response working song from South Africa’s gold mines. The word means “go forward,” and the song is a symbol of encouragement, hope and solidarity.

Senior Mason Olshavsky has the solo.

"It was a bit weird to sing alone, obviously, because when you are listening to a track, you're by yourself,” he said. “But the final product is really nice, when it all comes together. It's as close as we can get to singing in the choir."

Soprano and senior Maddie Wray said singing alone was very different from the typically collaborative experience of singing in a choir. But, she said, Carlin really brought out the best in the group.

"Being able to still come together has been really amazing for us. So I just hope that he knows how grateful we all are for his hard work.”