Annual S!NG competition to be a virtual showcase

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The annual S!NG competition has always been at the heart of THHS culture, often cultivating lasting bonds between different grades. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s production will be a virtual showcase, a decision made by the Freshior and Semore overall directors in hopes of keeping an authentic SING experience, while adhering to safety guidelines. Its official kickoff date is Monday, November 2, and the showcase day will be in late December or early January. 

As usual, each team will create a story and a script based on a central theme, this year’s being “parallel universe.” Each department will make several products including videos, recordings, art, and animations, that center around this story. Meetings and rehearsals will occur virtually via Zoom. Leaders and participants are also encouraged to post asynchronous tutorials to provide more development and training for anyone who would like more guidance. 

This year, there will not be a winner as in previous years, which allowed alumni to return as judges. Alumni will still have the chance to provide feedback and comments to the showcase asynchronously. “A showcase would likely produce two completely different projects that couldn’t be compared through a standard rubric,” Ms. Loew said. “While anywhere from 50-100 alumni attend and judge the SING performances each year, alumni living in different continents and time zones who could not attend SING physically, now have the opportunity to interact with the current student body and experience the SING showcase virtually.”

Many directors hope that despite the changes, the core of what S!NG means to the student body will not change. “I do hope that we will be able… bond with [the freshmen and juniors] this year as we did with the upperclassmen in our first two years. This whole situation is very uncertain and it is understandable how people who are just… joining S!NG this year would be reluctant to participate,” Freshior overall director Lynda Irizarry said. “However, I think joining S!NG this year could be a great opportunity to meet people from all over the school, despite not necessarily meeting them in person.”

“The goal is for the viewers to explore different aspects of the story through mediums of art, music, dance, theater, etc. In this way, the viewer can interact with the story and choose their own adventure through it based on their interests,” Coordinator of Student Activities Sarah Loew said.  

Students working in the different departments discussed the challenges they see ahead.

Semore dance director Christy Han described the adjustments necessary to accommodate dance in the remote setting. “We might have to mirror the choreography, the video calls might lag,… and we might not be able to see everyone’s full bodies. Many of our dances require most or all of our dancers (around 37-38) and it would be very hard to see which dancers are having trouble,” she said. 

Auditions for the vocal department will require separate audio files or videos of the auditioner singing their harmonies. “Since singing as a group depends on how well voices blend and sound together, it’ll be hard to work on harmonies since we need to perfect keys and timing in order to make it sound right,” Freshior vocal director MaryKate Wee said. “We’re planning on sending separate vocal parts for harmonies, depending on if you’re an alto, soprano, or tenor, so that people can practice on their own and hopefully…we can meet up to work with small groups.”

Similarly, the instrumental department will have to work with digital audio software. “If we are to have a pre-recorded performance, audio engineering and mixing will become a major in the development of the pieces. Ableton or other digital audio workstations will become a paramount part in the department,” said Freshior instrumental director Rakin Haq.

The art department will also function differently. “We may have to make props separately at home or have some sort of mix between traditional art and graphic design,” said Freshior art director Diana Katanov. 

“There’s something so special about S!NG that draws us back every year, and I don’t want that to fade away. Every year has its own difficulties, and this year’s are a bit bigger and not… in our control, but I hope that with everything that has to change, the heart of S!NG stays the same,” Semore vocal director Olivia Reid concluded.