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Local Glee Club using its talents to recognize frontline workers




At a time when human interaction is being limited by physical distancing, many are finding alternative ways to connect.

Despite not being able to meet in person due to COVID-19, the Competition Glee Club at St. Paul's Catholic School in Alliston, featuring Grades 5-8, has been creating videos of virtual performances from home.

They started by releasing a video in late March to the song, “I Swear” by All-4-One, which was initially planned for the school's 90's Tribute Night, which was cancelled.

“I thought we can do this remotely and probably pull it off, so I sent all the students the backing track of the song and I told them to sing their individual part,” said John Miorin, a St. Paul's teacher who leads the Glee Club.

“I said you're not going to be able to hear each other, so sing the parts that you normally sing to the music as best you can.”

“I pieced it together with the backing track, did a little mixing and mastering and then…put it out. It got a lot of traction in our Board and a lot of people really, really liking it,” Miorin enthused.

From there, the group decided to do a virtual Easter Liturgy, with the help of the Glee Choir, which is run by St. Paul teacher Ryan Lynch. Miorin edited together footage of Glee Choir members doing Bible readings with clips of the Competition Glee Club singing church hymns.

The video, which has been posted to Youtube, acts as an online resource for schools across the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board.

Miorin said after seeing the positive response from the board and Glee Club members themselves, the group decided to keep the momentum going.

That's when Grade 8 glee club member Heidi Flood brought forward the idea of doing a tribute video to support frontline workers.

“I thought the two go so well together because it's such a good cause and who better to do it than students at our school to kind of take that on,” Miorin said.

Flood recently watched the “One World: Together at Home” performance where celebrities joined forces to raise money and awareness for COVID-19 and wanted to do a similar tribute for those who work on the frontlines.

“Instead of doing another video with just us singing, I thought it would be good to make a ‘thank you' video because we're really grateful for all the people in our community that are stepping up,” she explained.

"I think it's really important to support frontline workers because right now they're putting their health at risk and they're working constantly to keep our community and everybody in it healthy and safe."

For the video, Glee Club members are going to sing “My Hero” by the Foo Fighters and “Stand By Me” by John Lennon, but with a special twist.

Before and after each song, school staff and Glee Club members will be sharing a few words of gratitude for frontline staff.

As well, Flood has contacted Stevenson Memorial Hospital and local businesses that have remained open to request photos of essential workers and frontline staff to be featured in the tribute video.

Meanwhile, the Competition Glee Club, which was formed in 2012, has performed at the Show Choir Canada Championship for three consecutive years and 2020 would have been their fourth, said Miorin.

"We've got a good group…and every year they've gotten better and better just knowing how to compete at this, how to sing together and knowing how to perform,” he noted.

"This year, we've had kids who have been in it since Grade 5, so for a few years now, they're veterans at this for being their age – they're good."

Miorin said he was disappointed upon discovering the club would be unable to perform this year and thought creating online videos showcasing the groups talented could be an effective alternative.

He told The Times the videos are seen as a fun way to connect with students as well as learn about technology and music.

“It's an educational opportunity that's especially important at this time, being that it's not just like a textbook or traditional reading/writing, pencil/paper stuff,” Miorin reasoned. “It's actually a learning experience outside of the school that's extremely valuable for students.”

Miorin said beyond recognizing the critical role frontline workers have on everybody lives during the pandemic, the tribute video is especially important to him because two of his really food friends are paramedics.

"I just know from hearing what they're going through, I couldn't imagine doing that myself,” he said. "It's tough for them because they can't really see it, the virus isn't something they can see, they don't know who they're coming into contact with."

He said from a music teacher's perspective, it's been incredible to see the quality of the clips students are sending in for the videos without hearing each other sing like they normally would.

“In an ideal world, they all have a recording studio in their house and we can bounce off ideas like that… but they're just running off like a phone, a computer, an iPad doing what they can, so it's impressive how well they're doing,” he said.

"Shout out to them for stepping up and doing it… being such music fans themselves, wanting to stick together with the group.”

The video will be released on May 14, to Miorin's YouTube Channel which can be found at www.youtube.com/c/johnmiorin

By Sam Odrowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Post date: 2020-05-07 18:55:58
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