North Seattle College Choir Performs Virtually

NSC choir director Adam Burdick

This year, like art classes and science labs, the North Seattle College choir moved online. Students attended class virtually to learn the basics of singing and to study music that they later recorded individually. Their individual songs were combined in Garage Band to produce the final piece.

Listen to the choir:


Q&A with Adam Burdick, North Seattle College choir director

What song is this and how was it recorded?
"The song is “Shosholoza”, a song from South Africa that was sung by miners who traveled on the steam train to Zimbabwe to work in the mines there. It was used as a protest song during the apartheid era and has become an unofficial national anthem in South Africa today. Our version was arranged by Moira Smiley, an American musical artist, and we use her arrangement with her permission. The students learned their parts through our classes and small-group sessions through Zoom, and then audio-recorded their parts individually at home. I assembled all of their singing tracks into a final recording."

How have online classes impacted your students?
"Students dealt with many complications and distractions to make this class work. Everything from fire alarms, spotty Internet connection and uneven access to tech, housemates, relatives, and pets, and uncertainty and depression hindered them, but they pressed on."

What have you taken away from the experience of leading an online choir?
“It’s possible to have a satisfying experience learning a piece of music through Zoom, even though we can’t sing together. It is possible for a group of singers to share learning, support each other, and celebrate vocal and musical growth that we witness together.”

“The students of the College Choir were very dedicated and worked hard to improve their singing and mastery of the music. It is very difficult to sing by yourself, no accompaniment, no singers surrounding you, and feel confident of the quality of your performance. The students showed personal bravery each time they sang, and they can be proud that their singing contributed to our final, beautiful song.”