Faced with the prospect of cancelling or postponing a much-loved student event, the teachers who organize it instead went into the unknown. In the spirit of “The show must go on,” they compiled student-submitted videos and secured a YouTube time slot to release a concert to mimic its history as a live performance.
“The students look forward to this all year, and some even start brainstorming ideas a year in advance,” said Patricia Blanchard, a vocal music instructor at Rutherford High School. “We wanted to honor their dedication and bring a sense of normalcy to a springtime when so many other events are being canceled.”
To access the show at 7 p.m. Friday, April 17, click this link to YouTube
Rutherford High typically hosts “Popcert” – a pop music concert – in April with musical acts taking the stage in front of a live audience. Setting aside the sometimes-staid classics of their band and chorus courses, the students are invited to form small groups of friends, blend the instruments they play, and present pop music.
Julia Alati, a Rutherford High junior, plans to record herself singing the version of “Valerie” used in the Glee television show. “I will sing with a karaoke track so that all of the correct instrumentation for the background,” she said.
“To the Rutherford Community, traditions like Popcert are always something to look forward to,” Alati said. “At times like these, it is important that everyone comes together to celebrate all the talent we have in our town and keep the positivity and hope alive!”
Auditions were just days away when schools closed for what was initially thought to be a two-week shutdown. Once it became clear that students wouldn’t be face-to-face anytime soon, teachers hatched the idea of a video broadcast. Blanchard’s colleagues in this creative plan include English teacher and Assistant Band Director Nicole Bowden and Media Technology teacher Steve Mett. Auditions were accomplished via video, and an online meeting demonstrated strong student interest in making the 36th Popcert a virtual version.
“When I heard that Popcert was being salvaged and transformed into a web-based broadcast, I immediately loved the idea. I was not only proud, but more than excited to be able to take part in such a wonderful experience,” said senior Skylar Wazinski. “It is vital to allow students to still have the chance of a normal way to finish out the school year with all that is going on.”
Two students planned to dance their way across the stage, and instead they are figuring out how to splice together separate videos. Blanchard anticipates another challenge; that a one-and-done live performance can be replaced by multiple video takes.
“We’ll need to remind students that this year’s Popcert is presented in the same live spirit as its predecessors