Choir participation drops

Choir participation falls due to COVID pandemic


Audrey Basham

Members of all LHS choirs join together to sing three selections for the music department Gala fundraiser.

By Reed Parker-Timms, Reporter

It is no secret that the pandemic has taken a toll on nearly everything, and there has been no exception on how COVID-19 has affected the choir program at Lawrence High.

With the abundance of online learning, many students have not felt as motivated as they once did during the massively popular era of choir pre-COVID. 

“Online choir was horrible,” senior Vivian Podrebarac said. 

Due to the difficulties with online school last year, the number of students in the choral program dropped drastically. While before the pandemic began, the choir department numbered about 250 students, there are now only 130 students. 

This sudden change was shocking to the choral community. It caused a major adjustment to how students were used to navigating through the musical world. 

“Due to the smaller size, it has been a lot harder to get the exact sound that we want,” junior Jack Pfeifer said. 

Pfeifer is a part of what used to be the largest mixed choir ensemble at Lawrence High. “Concert Choir” is now just another variation of Tenor/Bass choir.

It is now a lot harder to produce concerts and events because the majority of students haven’t had the opportunity.

“When we do Showtime this year we will have exactly zero students who have been in a Showtime performance before,” choral director Dwayne Dunn said. “Usually the older students can help the younger students out, but students can’t really provide that experience this year.”

While the struggles are evident, there are also some positives to these changes. 

“Being apart of the merged choir has been a good experience and has helped me improve as a choir student,” said Pfeifer, “since you can tell when something is wrong since the amount of people aren’t there to hide it. Overall it was weird at first, but we have adjusted and benefited from it.” 

Choir this year is different, but for students in their first year in Lawrence High choir, there’s no previous experience for comparison. 

“I would say a lot of choir this year is not what you would expect, but it’s also been so fun. We are learning so much and the classroom environment is so comfortable and friendly,” freshman Giulia Ventello said. “I’ve been able to make more connections with the students and teachers in choir this year than any other classes.”

Overall, the changes this year have not been easy, but due to the strong force that Lawrence choir is, the students are able to make the best of it, making choir’s return to full capacity just that much sooner. 

“People who struggled through the COVID/choir mixture, became closer and formed relationships with people they might not have in a regular year,” junior Jackson Green said. “It also showed resilience in the music department as a whole, given the hit that it took. It’s awesome to see that it’s still going strong.” 

Students implored their peers to continue on with choir as experiences open up again.

“My freshman year of choir was when I truly got very excited about singing and music,” Green said. “I encourage you to continue and not be demotivated by the drop, because as people continue to come back, choir will become more exciting than it already is.”