Choir students express mixed feelings towards virtual auditions


Choir members practice in the hallway outside the choir room to prepare for All Region tryouts.

Despite attempts to fight the pandemic, COVID-19 restrictions are still interfering with school activities and competitions, including the All-Region choir tryout process. Students in choir are having to learn their music and record their auditions online, while in earlier years they would try out in person with one try, and a rush of adrenaline. Senior Marissa Williams believes the tryout process has changed for the worse. 

“Personally, I don’t like it as much,” Williams said. “I think it makes my performance worse because I work better on the spot. I think it shows me out way more because I’d rather be like one-and-done and not have to worry about the rest when it’s online.”

According to Williams, being able to record their tryouts as many times as they want ruins the point of the tryout process. Without the aspect of trying out in front of real life judges, there are less nerves and pressure put on those who are competing.

“It makes it less competitive,” Williams said. “Anyone can sing in front of a microphone with nobody in the room and be fine.”

On the other hand, Choir President, senior Brady Billingsley, views the process in a different light.

“For me it’s kind of relaxing,” Billingsley said. “It’s like in the process whenever you’re face to face you know you only get one shot.”

Billingsley isn’t afraid of the unfamiliarity of virtual auditions. He doesn’t mind recording his audition online, unlike Williams.

“I already have that software kind of figured out,” Billingsley says. “I’ll have more time kind of just perfecting the balance making sure things are right you know”

According to Billingsley, Choral Director Clint Pianalto has put in lots of effort to make the try out experience the best it can be for his students, as well as giving the students as much of an advantage as he can.

“Mr. Pianalto has gotten special technology to make sure that our recordings are the very best they can be,” Billingsley said. “Whoever has the best technology is going to have an advantage with just the quality of the recordings.”

Pianalto is also taking measures to make sure his students are able to easily navigate the online aspect of the tryouts.

“I like the digital process, but it doesn’t help that gamer kid that’s always good no matter the pressure,” Pianalto said. “That kid would never beat them in a room when it was down to guts and gore, you know.”

Pianalto has purchased microphones to help the recording process. He has also set up workshops before and after school and is uploading practice tracks online so students have access to practice outside of class time. Sophomore Trey Marvin believes these practices and online resources are greatly beneficial.

“I’m there at after school practices with Mr. P, and there’s people there that can help you one on one, and that’s really nice,” Marvin said. “And then, he has the tracks online that we can listen to and the music’s all online, so it’s really easy to find. I think it’ll be easier this year.”