SANTA CLARITA, Calif. — Dancing on the concrete outside may not be the exact stage the Hart High School Show Choir team is used to.
But after a year spent meeting exclusively online, senior member Olivia Lopez and the rest of her team — the Sound Vibes — know something is much better than nothing. They've got light, they've got music and, perhaps most importantly, they're back together again, in-person.
"Oh my God, literally coming back was the best day of my life," Lopez said. "The morning we came, I was like my friends, 'I’m so happy to be here.' Now every morning when I wake up, I’m so excited I get to come to choir.”
Like other high schoolers throughout the State of California, Hart High School had been engaged in distance learning for almost a full school year. Everything from math to English and even show choir was moved online. While remote learning in any class comes with its share of challenges, for performing arts there are some unique limitations.
"When you sing on Zoom, you have to stay muted because the timing is different, so you kind of just do what you can and hope for the best," Lopez said.
Despite the challenges, the Sound Vibes took cues from their choir director, Sarah Anders, believing it was important for them to come together — even virtually — to keep the program going.
“Teaching to crickets is wild, but just like what the kids said, honestly this year has been so hard," said Anders. "Knowing I was waking up and getting to see their faces, give them a place to be safe and express themselves when everything was a drag kept me going too.”
As numbers on the COVID-19 front began to improve with the new year, so too did the prospects of returning to "normal" on-campus activities. In March, sports teams began to practice once again and so too did the Sound Vibes.
Yes, there are still noticeable differences to their daily rehearsals, but to Lopez it doesn't matter.
“I love singing and dancing, and I couldn’t care where I’m doing it, if it’s in my living room or on campus," she said. "I’m just excited to be a part of it, no matter what it looks like.”