Fidelio and Chorus Adapt to COVID-19 with Virtual Choir Projects

The decision to extend online classes for the rest of Spring Term canceled all of Fidelio and Chorus’s planned events, which included Fidelio’s performance at Lincoln Center and a Chorus concert honoring the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment. However, the Co-Heads of both groups, along with Conductor of Fidelio and Chorus Abbey Siegfried have worked to keep the groups in touch and have worked on recording virtual choir projects including “Circle Songs,” an annual tradition of theirs.

“Every year the Chorus begins their first concert and ends their last concert with the same piece, sung in the round. It’s our ‘end depends upon the beginning’ piece, or our circle song. We often practice it in the choir room in a huge circle so everyone can see each other. I am hoping we can record all of the circle songs our Seniors have experienced over the past four years,” said Siegfried.

Fidelio Co-Head and Chorus member Adaeze Izuegbunam ’20 expressed how Fidelio has been a testament to her growth as a musician; being in the group deepened her understanding of music and without Fidelio, she would not have created the acapella group Downbeat or joined Azure. Despite her disappointment over the canceled concerts, Izuegbunam highlighted the silver lining in recording the Circle Songs.

“Even while we’re not physically together, this way, we can still be together while we’re apart. I think it’s really nice, although obviously nothing can make up for being in the Chapel surrounded by the candlelight, this version is more eternal because [there will] be a digital record of it,” said Izuegbunam.

Jeffrey Steele ’20, Chorus Co-Head and Fidelio member, revealed that in addition to recording Circle Songs, Siegfried and the Co-Heads have also been emailing words of encouragement and musical advice to the groups on what would have been rehearsal nights. The Co-Heads have also created “Quaran-tunes” and “Choral-time” playlists for the groups. Siegfried shared other ideas she had for virtual choir projects and communication between the groups.

“I am also thinking of recording graduation pieces—Fidelio always sings ‘Loch Lomond’ at Baccalaureate, and I would love to be able to create a virtual choir piece of this. We may even invite alumni to participate. Another idea I have is digital cards or memories for our seniors. Typically we give cards to the Seniors that include adjectives that all of the members of Fidelio and Chorus submit that make them think of them and I hoping we can do this digitally, so Seniors still have this tradition,” said Siegfried.

According to Chorus Co-Head and Fidelio member Abigail Taylor ’20, being a member of Chorus has been the best part of her Andover experience. Taylor was looking forward to not only spending time in the Choir room with her friends, but also the many solo concerts Fidelio had planned for Spring Term.

“I was really, really looking forward to spending time singing in the Choir Room with my friends this term. As bittersweet as the Spring Term Chorus concert would have been, I still wish so much that we could have had it and said goodbye and thank you to each other in person.

I was also looking forward to all of the Fidelio concerts; Fidelio hadn’t had a solo concert yet this year, and there were a lot of Fidelio concerts planned for this Spring Term,” said Taylor.