Benton Community Vocal Music Update |

Greetings from the Benton Community Vocal Music Department!

This year has been difficult for everyone in education. It has been a challenge for students, staff, and parents to navigate the myriad of issues that had to be addressed with regards to quarantine, technology, block planning, emotional engagement, and a host of others. problems.

Our department was no different! We’ve encountered quarantine situations with students and staff, Covid security protocols, rescheduling concerts, and the list goes on.

In August, when the derecho hit our area, there were students from our school whose homes were destroyed. Our students came together and mobilized across the community to help people in the aftermath of this storm. The true spirit of our community and our pride in Bobcat was fully visible when we saw students from across the school helping the community. It was a humbling experience to be a part of it. The auditorium suffered fairly significant damage. We were first told that it might not be usable for the rest of the year. This turned out to be a major challenge, as we had no place at the time to safely separate our large complexes. The start of the year saw us rehearse in the gymnasium, wrestling hall, choir hall and orchestra hall. The Covid protocols required that (in order to sing safely) we divide our 80 vocal ensembles into 4 or 5 smaller groups in which to sing. We did this with our 9/10 mixed choir as well as our 11/12 concert choir.

We are extremely grateful that the work on the auditorium has proceeded faster than expected, and we are now able to use this facility again.

We were able to have our concerts again this year. We sang with masks to prevent the spread of the Covid, and although, of course, there were some high school students who had the Covid, our rate remained pretty low. We are happy to be able to continue to give students the opportunity to participate in these activities. There are a plethora of music programs across the state and country that have closed their doors entirely this year. We’re glad we weren’t one of them.

So far we have had our fall concert for high school and college, JAVA holiday and holiday concert (jazz band and performing choirs). In December we were also able to allow our Madrigal singers to present their program, although in a modified format this year.

We are currently preparing our high school concert on March 25th in the auditorium.

On the show choir side, our groups have participated in competitions in Des Moines Christian and Anamosa so far. Both groups have won great rewards! We will be finishing our season in Pella, Marion and Fort Madison in the coming weeks.

Touch of Class ’21 took place here on February 13. It was an extremely cold day and a few groups were unable to travel, but we had a very successful day despite it. Our department would like to publicly thank all members of the community for your financial support of the competition. Our income was down this year, so those of you who were the event sponsors really saved the day!

The next big event here is our musical production of “Seussical”. This has been moved from the fall and will be performing on March 12, 13 and 14 in the auditorium.

In addition, our ensembles are currently working on the music for our March 25 concert and the State Solo and Ensemble competition.

We’ll be hosting our solo / ensemble recital here at school on Saturday March 27 with all of these state entries.

We have had our challenges here this year, but we certainly appreciate all the support from the Benton administration, the community and most of all the hard work of the students. It is indeed a year we will all remember!

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