As things slowly approach normal during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Notables have begun to return to a regular routine. Morning and evening rehearsals bring singers together, and calendars fill with concerts.
Still, performers still wear masks and practice distancing while singing in Mr. Hightower’s room.
“It is definitely better than last year,” Sixth Former and Notables Co-Captain Damian Ferraro said. “But it is still difficult to see other people’s mouths and their expressions while singing, which is important to the sound of the group.”
Matching syllable sounds and mouth shapes is important, as it allows people to match the tone of others in the group.
“I find these masks to be very limiting,” Notables Director Mr. Mark Hightower said. “A huge part of choral singing is matching vowels, and one of the ways to teach that is looking at people’s mouths.”
Concerts are also back on the schedule, but Mr. Hightower is unsure of how they will be conducted.
“Define normal,” Mr. Hightower responded when asked if normal concerts were happening. “Everywhere you go, there are different standards for what ‘normal’ is. Some places I have sung at made people line up and face away from the stage and face away from the audience. Other places had no masks and no distancing.”
Despite the uncertainty of how concerts and programming may take shape this year, he is still optimistic about the state of the group.
“If I’m being very honest, I was expecting more difficulty finding a good, choral sound. However, I am very pleased with the progress we have been making, especially with more new guys than normal,” Mr. Hightower said.
“[The first time] we sang together again was a very enlightening experience for me as a musician,” Ferraro said. “I think we are further along than some other schools, and we need to take advantage of the time we have together.”
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