Adaptation 2020

You might be asking yourself, how we are going to hold chorus in the Fall of 2020, given all of the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. We are keeping informed on all of the research about singing in groups, and we are preparing for a unique Fall semester that will check off all of the boxes of being in a choir, be safe and healthy, and also give us the opportunity to learn about technology, adaptation, and how music is the true expression of our human identity.  

In short: we are adapting – boldly and creatively.


All four ensembles will work independently, but collaboratively, to create a film project combining music, visual images, stories, and technology. Dr. Filipe Leitao, of the music and cinema departments, will work with us to create a final film project that will complement any performances that we are able to hold. 

This is not your typical virtual choir, but a film project that will uplift and engage singers and audiences alike. We will be safe, creative, and collaborative.

Through this project, we will build community, develop skills, learn new repertoire, and share a final performance (virtually and hopefully in person). We will create ways for every student to be meaningfully involved, regardless of technological capabilities or location on- or off-campus.  

This choral film project will be executed regardless of whether or not we are 100% in person, 100% online, or working in a hybrid situation. We are going to be innovative, thoughtful, and musical – and thankful to be living in a time when technology can inspire innovation!


Adaptation – Fall 2020 Theme

The adaptations we are currently making in the wake of COVID-19 find echoes in music that demonstrates humankind’s ability to respond to change and thrive – even under the most difficult of circumstances. In each of our ensembles, we will address the concept of adaptation and create a linear stream of human connection from ancient days to the present day. With song, stories, and visuals, we will explore answers to the following questions:    

  • How have people turned to music to overcome and adapt to social and political disparity, conflict, and fear? (Commonwealth Singers)
  • How did enslaved peoples honor their heritage, communicate their hopes and fears, and create a new American sound, while being held captive in the most abhorrent of circumstances?  (Choral Arts Society) 
  • How have musicians who have been silenced due to racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression expressed their voice through text and song?   (Vox Concordia)  
  • How did music evolve to overcome institutional restrictions and widespread plague to develop into the ultimate human expression?  (Vocal Chamber Ensemble)  


We will create recordings in person (if safe) and at home to compile a narrative film that can be shared as a final project, ideally in addition to an in-person concert experience. With the guidance of Dr. Erin Freeman, Dr. Filipe Leitao, and Professor Lisa Fusco, students will sing, learn, collaborate, and be at the forefront of musical innovation. Technological assistance will be available, and all students will be given ways to participate that are in line with their technical capabilities. Student leadership will take a new, innovative role, helping to ensure that students are learning skills, making music, and finding community.