Lake Highlands High School’s choir and show choir students are continuing to spread the gift of music while pushing through a difficult school year, said LHHS head choir director Kari Gilbertson.
LHHS’s show choir and pop group, Espree, will perform its 41st annual show on March 5 and 6. The performance is a culmination of the school year’s music and dance.
Espree’s 12 singers and nine band and sound crew members typically perform on a built stage with duets, solos and a full auditorium. But this year’s show looks a little different, Gilbertson said.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame show will be performed to a limited audience of Espree family members on a stage that allows for social distancing. The performers will wear masks and only perform solos and group songs, which will result in a shorter show.
While the show choir group could not travel and perform their usual concerts, Gilbertson said the students are looking forward to the tonight and tomorrow night’s shows.
“We’re just trying to make it seem as much like a normal Espree show for [the students],” she said. “They’re learning their songs, they’re singing, they’re dancing, they’re learning choreography.”
Gilbertson and LHHS’s choir directors have made adjustments to accommodate choir for 300 students. The directors divided classes between guys and girls to create smaller classes, put tape down on the floor to ensure six feet of distance between each student and all in-person students sang in masks.
While these adjustments were challenging at first, the students have adapted, Gilberston said.
“It’s become normal and good instead of abnormal and strange like it was in the beginning,” she said.
Gilbertson upholds the same motto she preaches each year: safety first, character second and music third. Her motto is especially applicable to this school year.
To keep students motivated, Gilbertson asks them to show grit and continue to push themselves. For some students, choir has become the most “normal” part of their day, she said.
“You could just say ‘I’m not going to be the best student I can be because it’s a pandemic year,’ or you could show grit,” Gilberston said. “We still had a record number of kids try out for all region. We have a record number of kids doing solo and ensemble.”