A capella continues on

Arts

In the midst of a global pandemic, everyone’s lives have been drastically altered in different ways. What about our singers on the Kingswood Oxford campus? KO’s eminent music program, specifically the award-winning a capella groups (the all-male Crimson 7 and the all-female Oxfordians) is arguably one of its best features. But with singing being one of the most dangerous forms of spreading the virus, how is KO possibly continuing the a capella tradition? 

Through specific safety precautions, a pandemic workforce, and social distancing, amazingly, KO’s a cappella groups continue to rehearse and safely make harmony, despite all obstacles. 

Upper School history teacher and Director of Crimson 7 David Baker commented on the carefulness of the music department during this time, as well as the protocols that have been put into place to ensure students’ safety while still having fun. “We rehearse Tuesday evenings on Zoom,” Mr. Baker said, “and on Wednesdays, we have a period between 3:00 to 4:15 where everyone can drop in when convenient. It isn’t ideal, but it’s the only time we can get onto campus.” 

KO makes changes to how music is made. Photo by Abby Baier ‘23

Despite the difficult changes that the virus has brought, Mr. Baker is very excited to be back and singing. “My favorite part is just hearing harmonies again, hearing live music, and being together,” he said.

Director of Oxfordians Steve Mitchell also discussed how he ensures the safety of his students while continuing to create music. “[Oxfordians] consists of musicians who’ve made an extra commitment to sing with their friends,” he said proudly. “To be able to lead this group brings me a lot of joy.”

Although it took a great deal of hard work, both Mr. Baker and Mr. Mitchell have been successful thus far in bringing their respective singing groups back to campus. The singers never remove their masks and maintain a safe distance of at least nine feet. In addition, the choir room is equipped with air filters. 

It is certainly a great privilege to be able to create music during these tough circumstances, which many schools are unable to do. The students themselves are therefore ecstatic to be able to perform in their a cappella groups. 

Sophomores Luke Roen and Manu Nasahiram, new members of Crimson 7, shared their thoughts. “My favorite part is the community, ” Manu said. “It’s a lot of fun to be around the other guys, and we have a great bonding experience.” Luke shared similar thoughts. “Singing is fun in general, and hearing the result is very cool.” With regard to singing specifically during the pandemic, Manu and Luke agreed that although it can be challenging at times, singing with their peers is worth it. Through practicing the necessary health and safety precautions and carrying a strong motivation to create music from both students and faculty alike, KO has excelled in its ability to protect its musicians while still allowing them to take part in what they enjoy most.