In the absence of in-person vocal music performances this semester due to COVID-19 restrictions, the TRHS Bridges 2 Harmony Gospel Choir was able to share their talents with the community through a virtual Facebook concert featuring highlights of the group from the last decade.
Mr. Devon Steve, Assistant Director of Vocal Music & Theater Arts and the Artistic Director of Bridges 2 Harmony, says the goal of the concert was to provide a moment of hope and joy as well as a reprieve from the stress many are under right now. Mr. Steve met with current students, alumni, and a team of videographers and editors to select some of the best footage of the group from the last decade for the virtual concert.
“It showed how the legacy has remained the same through time,” says Mr. Steve, who assumed direction of the choir from founder Rev. James McNear, Jr. four years ago. “Building bridges through music is how the world is changed.”
The concert, which has approximately 4,000 views worldwide, has been shared across social channels and received positive feedback.
Despite the challenges this year has presented, vocal music students remain active, with more than 200 students in vocal music programming this semester. Five of those students were awarded positions in the Iowa All-State Chorus after virtual auditions and fully remote preparation.
“It's been quite an exciting challenge for Dr. [Rose] Dino and myself,” says Mr. Steve. “Even with the uncertainty in the methods, we have been able to maintain a rigorous vocal music education program at TRHS. We've seen great success with our online programming so far.”
The vocal music department plans to continue that programming with additional virtual performances in the coming months. The Revelation Show Choir will present the annual January Jive showcase virtually on Friday, January 15, featuring performances from show choir members. In the spring, Mr. Steve and Dr. Dino are hoping to have special projects with the TRHS Chamber Choir, Da capo Jazz Choir, and more from Bridges 2 Harmony.
Says Mr. Steve, “The Bridges 2 Harmony tagline is ‘Passion & Purpose.’ That could easily be applied to the great work that our vocal music students are doing this fall.”