Humboldt State Professor Rachel Samet plays the piano as she walks her MUS 106B University Singers class through voacl warm-ups in the morning outside in the Redwood Bowl arena on the HSU campus on April 5. | Photo by Thomas Lal

The Trees Are Alive With The Sound Of Music

University Singers choir class is now having in-person instruction three times a week outside

Rachel Samet is holding her choir class outside in the Redwood Bowl. The class is split up into eight students groups three times per week to meet up and sing. The class also broadcasts on Zoom for those not scheduled for the in-person choir class or not local.

Pablo Murcia, a music education major, is one of the students attending this class. He has thoroughly enjoyed the class and learning from the professor. It has been better than the alternative, strictly online through Zoom. The students practice all sorts of types of music and songs.

“There is a soprano, alto, tenor and bass, and we sing a variety of music,” Murcia said. “We sing renaissance type music, we sing contemporary pieces, and mostly acapella.”

By singing outside while following COVID-19 guidelines, the students get the normal experience from before the pandemic. Doing it through Zoom left out that feeling.

“The way we’ve been doing it is through Zoom and we are all muted and our teacher takes us through all the different parts and warms us up,” Murcia said. “It’s been weird doing it over Zoom because, in a choir, you want to be able to hear the other singers.”

Now the students can hear and sing together in a more choral style as opposed to online video recordings. Soprano Dulcie Feinstein, a vocal performance major at HSU has been with the group and class for four semesters and is a teacher’s assistant. Feinstein also had difficulty with choir and music classes over Zoom.

“We started this semester just online,” Feinstein said. “It’s hard to know what we are doing or how we sound. It’s hard to unify those voices.”

Now, later into the semester, the class meets three times a week outside and the rest of the week online. Now that it is partially in person, Feinstein finds it motivating.

“Obviously one of the pros is just to be able to do it in general, and I can already see so many improvements,” Feinstein said.“ Just being in person the first day it was like wow. It’s crazy how much we have forgotten how to be a choir.”

Emily Morse, a music education major at HSU, is another soprano in the group. Morse has taken the class before and has enjoyed it so much to continue through the pandemic.

“I love being in class with Rachel Samet, she is the best choir teacher that I’ve ever had and she has helped me improve my voice,” Morse said. “It’s kind of like a little family.”

Morse was also excited about being able to be outside while singing but it is different compared to when the choir sang in the recital hall on campus.

“Rachel has kept it pretty much the same. It’s just the fact that only eight of us can sing at a time, it kind of sucks,” Morse said. “At least we get the in-person experience to how we were before.”

Morse also enjoys the idea of singing outside in nature since the choir class is being held in the Redwood Bowl.

“It’s nice actually to sing outside, especially when the weather is nice because we didn’t get to do that before COVID hit,” Morse said. “I feel like music and nature are connected so it’s nice to be able to sing with the trees, as silly as that may sound.”

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