SLHS virtual choir


Despite the current situation, the South Lakes choir director Ms.Gigliotti came up with a way to continue showcasing her students’ hard work and talent. The South Lakes choir has gone virtual with performances on Youtube! Ms.Gigliotti partnered up with choir engineer, Harrison de Wolfe, a video and audio producer. Harrison de Wolfe is a South Lakes alumni who helped blend the video together and add the instrumental piece. Both Ms.Gigliotti and Harrison de Wolfe have done an amazing job making this project possible. 

The virtual choir’s first video, “Rise Up” was posted just two weeks ago. It has been a huge success, hitting 14,000 views already! Students from select treble and chamber choirs were given the opportunity to participate in their first video. Volunteers from these ensembles were coached individually through private one on one virtual calls. After practicing long and hard, the students recorded their part of the song. Ultimately, their videos were blended together to create one sound along with an instrumental accompaniment. When all of the students are combined, the song comes to life. It sounds like the whole chorus of students is standing in the same room. The impressive, beautiful harmonies created by sharing the screens of 25 students at once is quite extraordinary. 

The virtual choir is made up of many talented, aspiring singers: Andrew Johnson, Griffin van Hilst, Matthew Guerber, Danielle Yakubisin, Lindsey Hirshfeld, Margarita Gamarnik, Aidan Smith, Arnav Batra, Joshua Gregory, Lucas Heishman, Michael Panateir, Robert Long, Camille Denny, Delia Hartman, Ryan van Hilst, Ireland DiBacco, Manmeet Singh, Grace Moore, Hannah Carter, Mikayla Kirr, Ruby Hietman, Kara Handy, Karina Silva, Rita Ajit and Violet Sather. Together, they sang Andra Day’s, “Rise Up.” The students share a strong message through the lyrics of the song. 

The song “Rise Up” was chosen by students because of it’s powerful words. “‘Rise Up’ has a really uplifting message which everyone wants to hear right now. The unity of everyone is important. Everyone can rise up from what is going on in the world right now,” explained senior Camille Denny. She explained that even in a time of hardship, people can come together and overcome it. She shared why she volunteered for the video, “I wanted to participate to express my love for music and help uplift people [during] this strange time, while also staying united with my chorus family.” Camille, along with many other choir students at South Lakes, sees our choir program as a second family. Their love for music is undeniable. By singing “Rise Up,” they give viewers hope for a brighter future.

Other seniors spoke out as well. “I wanted to participate because I loved the intention behind the video to lift people’s spirits during this tough time, and I wanted to stay as involved with choir as I could even though we weren’t physically singing together anymore,” expressed senior Margarita Gamarnik. Margarita emphasized the power of music, and the supportive choir community of South Lakes High School. Ms.Gigliotti has done an incredible job teaching her students more than how to sing, but to also raise awareness through their song selections and the passion of their voices. She has created a community where the students are so lovely, that they want to sing to make people feel better during a very difficult time.  


Senior Danielle Yakubisin agrees, “I wanted to participate in the video because of the powerful message it sends and the effort to bring everyone together during this time. I think it is so important to keep doing the things you love with your peers even without being face to face. With the internet, it can touch even more people than with a [live] concert. I think it’s heartwarming to see everyone make music together, and it is one of the things that keeps us sane right now.” Danielle explains that during this time, people feel even more connected to one another than ever before. The lack of being with someone in person makes people creative about finding new ways of communicating with one another. In our world, we are so lucky to have the technology available to do so. We can use that technology to our advantage and share the things we love to do. The choir is doing this well in sharing their beautiful music to the world.

Senior Lindsey Hirshfeld also spoke out, “A lot of social media and news sites are pretty overwhelming and only really [talk] about things going on with Coronavirus. We were hoping this video could provide a few minutes of relief from all of that.” With the news being filled with so much negativity, Lindsey explains that the choir’s goal was to help everyone be more positive, and give people something to enjoy for even a few minutes to escape from the difficult reality. Lindsey explained why she volunteered for the video, “I’ll look back on [this] in a couple years and be grateful that I was a part of it.” Even though it’s hard to make memories right now, people can still come together virtually and make memories. Making videos is a great way to document these crazy times, and will be fun to look back on when everything goes back to normal.

There is currently more music in the making! One of the South Lakes choirs traditional songs to perform, “Bridge over troubled Water” is going to be showcased in their next video! “Bridge over troubled Water” is performed annually at their spring concert, along with alumni who return to honor the seniors. Every choir student learns the song their freshman year, and gets the chance to sing it for their final concert. This virtual version might not be what seniors wanted, but will surely be the most memorable. The opportunity to be a part of the video will be given to volunteers from all choirs during their next song! It is expected to be an even bigger collaboration of amazing voices. This next song is dedicated to the class of 2020, go give it a listen!