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The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

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Choir makes in-person comeback

Choir+makes+in-person+comeback

The students in the KCC began in-person rehearsals this term on January 18th. (Photo Courtesy of Knox College Choir Facebook Page)

On Nov. 7, 2021 in Kresge Hall, the Knox College Choir (KCC) performed live to a full audience for the first time in two years. Thrilling, incredible, and unreal were some of the words performers used to describe the experience of being on stage again. 

This performance, and the rehearsals leading up to it, was a big deal for the choir. All throughout the ongoing pandemic, being a part of the KCC looked very different.

“I couldn’t even believe it. They sang so well,” Choir Director Laura Lane said. “We were devastated in the spring [of 2020], that we couldn’t even be together. In the fall it was extremely difficult for me to give the students an experience that was choir-like when the restrictions were so tight.”

Last year, the choir was able to have 10 students in a room, socially distanced, for half an hour. For a choir that is normally of about 50, that was a challenge. Most rehearsals were done in sectionals; small groups of similar vocal ranges (soprano, alto, tenor, bass). Then, two sections could come together to sing outside, in one of the many tents that littered the Knox campus. It was made slightly easier by the fact that the KCC only had 31 members at the time, a number likely caused by how many students were completely virtual. 

Fifth-year Faeryn Swift felt that new members of the choir were not getting the full experience of the community or the learning that normally happens in the first quarter. The strange setup made things difficult.

“We were really fortunate that we got to practice at all. I love choir, but there were times where I didn’t want to be at rehearsal. But I knew I needed to be. Part of what makes our choir really great and beautiful and why I love it so much is because we are very community-oriented,” Swift said.

A lot of that community was missing, with singers only able to mingle –six feet apart– with their own sections. While Lane suggested that each section learn their own piece, the choir decided to all work on the same music, hoping that they would get to sing together and encourage the unity that normally comes with a choir. In the end, they did get to perform, at a walking concert around campus. The KCC performed in front of CFA, Old Main, the Quads, and SMC with a small audience following the whole way. 

“Our number-one goal was to try to make it feel welcoming to the new people and give them a sense of what choir was like, and I think we managed to do that. All the new people [from last year] re-auditioned,” Lane said.

This year, however, has been completely different. The choir is back rehearsing as a group with their full number at 48, and the community is slowly coming back. 

“I’ll never forget walking down the hall on the first day of choir camp and hearing the sound of all the voices in Jay [rehearsal hall], laughing and talking. I walked in, and they were hugging!” said Lane. 

There were 19 new people in the choir this year, many of them freshmen, with a few sophomores and juniors who were unable to join the KCC last year. Sophomore Eliza Farley has enjoyed watching the community building, as well as interacting with the freshmen, and especially the upperclassmen.

“It’s been nice to get a taste of what the KCC would be like in a normal year. They’re getting excited about all the traditions that half the choir has never experienced,” Farley said.

While Swift is beyond excited to be in person again, they said there have been some hiccups. But they are confident that the knowledge will come with time and are glad to see the community quickly bouncing back. 

“Because all the new people from last year weren’t really able to learn how rehearsals really function, half the choir–rather than just a fourth of it–is behind on the process,” Swift said.

The hard work of the choir this term was clear in their performance. Equally clear was the excitement of the singers and the audience to simply be experiencing music together. 

Kresge Hall was almost full. The Knox community was as ready to be a part of that moment as the choir was. 

“The joy in the room was so big, for us and for the audience– everybody–you could feel it in the room,” said Lane. 

Hopefully this concert is just a teaser of what is to come. While Swift and Lane both feel the choir still has some obstacles to overcome to become a truly unified choir, this concert made it clear the KCC is up to the task.

“Choir music is something special,” said Swift. “You create a moment when you sing it in a performance, and that will never be the same in any other time, in any other place, with any other set of people. You singing it with that group makes it special, and we haven’t been able to make something special in a long time.” 

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About the Contributor
Eleanor Lindenmayer
Eleanor Lindenmayer, Editor-In-Chief
Eleanor Lindenmayer '25 (she/her) is a journalism major. She started working for TKS as a staff writer when she was in her first year. She has also worked as the discourse editor and is now the Editor-in-Chief. Eleanor has also been published at Tri States Public Radio, where she was an intern and a freelancer. Eleanor was born and raised in the pacific northwest and will argue that there is no better place on this earth. Awards Illinois College Press Association 2024
  • 1st Place In Depth Reporting
  • 1st Place News
  • 1st Place Feature
Illinois College Press Association 2023
  • 2nd Place Columns
  • Honorable Mention Columns
Knox College 2023 Ida M. Tarbell Memorial Prize For Investigative Reporting    

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    Hannah TerryJan 29, 2022 at 5:44 am

    Such a well written article! As a student not connected to the choir, I can feel the community through the words.

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