Performing Arts Deal Looks Different in Pandemic


Every student at CHS is currently going through the same ordeals known as online school. Due to the pandemic, all classes are partaking in distance learning. Though not shocking, there are many differences between the in person classes students are used to taking, and this whole other world of online learning that everyone is figuring out together. 

Every class has its differences, but some of the classes have been more severely affected due to the importance of having them in person. These classes are the performing arts, and they all have one crucial similarity: the need of proximity to those with whom you are performing. 

These teachers have had to adapt their curriculum plans in many ways since beginning distance learning. Brice Cloyd, the choir director at CHS has been focusing on project based learning for this term. “The way that I’m breaking down each week,” said Cloyd, “is our three power standards for Choir which are create, perform, and respond.”

On Mondays and Tuesdays, choir students will be doing listening and ear building exercises. On Wednesdays, they will be performing something on their own, and on Thursdays and Fridays, they will work on Noteflight to create their own compositions. 

Cloyd said next term they should be doing more performance and sing even though it’s not easy to do over Zoom. 

Another class facing this roadblock is band. “We can’t play together, so it has to be pieced together through videos,” said band teacher Breeanna Theilacker. 

Theilacker admits that one of the hardest parts about teaching online is keeping the students excited about music. 

Theilacker also reflected on the positive aspects of online learning saying, “I’m enjoying connecting with the students in different ways.” She enjoys figuring out different ways to do things for the class and problem solving the issues. 

This year, the band plans to keep the curriculum the same as if it was a regular school year.  Though the added difficulty of playing over Zoom makes more room for music theory and getting students used to playing and practicing in their own time.

 While it may be a lot harder to negotiate what performing together looks like this year, Theilacker wanted to tell her students, “Thank you for sticking with it this year. I know once we get through it we will be able to do some awesome things.”

The drama department is also developing ideas for when the classes begin next term. “While I don’t have everything mapped out yet, I have been attending many on-line podcasts, virtual conferences, and have joined an on-line academy for drama teachers.  So, I have a lot of information to use!” Said drama instructor Kellie McCarty.

It has been a struggle for McCarty to not be able to see the kids in her classes, because she says that is her favorite part of her job. Another hard part is having to count on her internet not going out.

While it has been tough not to be able to see the students in person, McCarty is still excited that she gets to see the students everyday. “I love their energy,” she said, “it keeps me going on the hard days.”

McCarty is very excited to have the chance to continue to help kids do theatre this year. She explained, “We are really excited to still create theatre this year. Please be on the lookout for information about auditions and thespian club. We want to see you back with our family!” 

While the whole process of online school is something everyone in the CHS community is learning together, students in the performing arts need not worry about having their expressive outlet taken away. Teachers of these classes seem determined to offer the gift of performance to their students, even if it is virtual.