GISH music class shares challenges of singing while wearing a mask

Published: Aug. 20, 2020 at 9:17 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - The Masked Singer is the name of a hit show but now it’s a reality for choirs at Grand Island Senior High School. They require everyone to wear masks at all times, even during music class.

“Whenever you breathe in sometimes the cloth just kind of like hugs the rim of your mouth,” said GISH Senior Sofia Dominguez.

Students have been adjusting well to the new policy. “It’s going really well,” Vocal Music Director Jesse LaBrie said. “I wasn’t sure what to expect, and the students seemed to be responding pretty well. We can hear what we need to hear, and it’s going better than I thought.”

Students will pull on the masks because it gets stuck to their faces, or it can get can hot while wearing them. Sometimes the director has to move his mask down to show students the proper techniques.

“It is a lot more hot, and I guess I have a lot of hot air, but other than that no I don’t have to do anything real different,” said LaBrie.

LaBrie may not have to do much in terms of how he teaches the music, but he does have to change the format.

“We do split the choirs half and half. Some of them rehearse on the stage, more spread out,” said LaBrie. “Sometimes we vacate the room, and go to another space too.”

Large and small spit droplets are released when students sing, and can stay in the air for awhile. LaBrie has them go into different rooms every 30 minutes to minimize the risk of spreading the Coronavirus.

“With singing the danger is staying in the same space for an extended amount of time, so we try to be cognizant of that,” said LaBrie.

Overall students are just happy to be back and singing again.

“We have a lot of our friends and it’s just sort of a way that we can all communicate together and have fun,” said Dominguez.

The choirs at the high school won’t be having live performances this year but do plan to stream performances online or send them pre-recorded to families through e-mail.

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