Nathan Hale High School’s Music Department Comes Together for Graduation Performance

Nathan Hale High School’s Music Department Comes Together for Graduation Performance
Posted on 06/09/2021
This is the image for the news article titled Nathan Hale High School’s Music Department Comes Together for Graduation PerformanceOver the past year and a half, there have been many barriers to musical performances.  Singing and playing wind instruments were off limits due to the pandemic, and concerts have been postponed. Even during in-person instruction, some students have remained virtual, further complicating music classes. 

Enter technology, creativity and talent. These ingredients helped the Nathan Hale Music Department  overcome the logistical challenges of performing together while apart.

According to Cathy Kolb, orchestra director, “We wanted to take advantage of this time to create a memorable experience for our students, since we were not able to have normal concerts this year.”

Our musicians were unable to perform live in the football stadium for graduation this year so they came together on video with help from their music teachers” said Principal Matthew Lesar. “The music department created recording studios in the choir and orchestra rooms using equipment from the Sound Engineering and Design class.”

According to Zachary Beeksma, choir director and sound engineering teacher, “Students used studio headphones and individual microphones to record audio tracks, which were combined into an audio file and dubbed over their video performances. Each video has about 250 individual audio tracks that we have edited into one cohesive performance.”

Both pieces are theme songs from games in the Civilization Video Game Series.  The music department was inspired to learn video game music because of their work writing electronic music during virtual instruction.

According to Kristi Wicihowski, band director, “One of the reasons that we chose these pieces is because of their unique Flex Scoring.  Since many students are at home, this scoring reduces instrumentation requirements, allowing smaller groups to rehearse more easily.”

The first piece, Baba Yetu, composed by Christopher Tin, is one of the theme songs from the Civilization Video Game Series.  It is the first piece of music, composed for a video game, to be nominated and win a GRAMMY Award.  It is sung in Swahili.  HERE

Sogno di Volare, was also composed by Christopher Tin for the Civilization Video Game Series and is sung in Italian.  This piece is the lead track on the Tin’s album “To Shiver the Sky.” According to the composer, "My favorite way to describe Sogno di Volare is that it celebrates human exceptionalism."  HERE

“The result was stunning,” said Lesar.  “It is amazing to see how it all came together.”