Arts & Entertainment

MC Singers Take the Virtual Stage for Another Remote Semester

by Caroline McCarthy & Jilleen Barrett, Asst. Features Editor & A&E Editor

The MC Singers continue to harmonize their way through the year in a hybrid format. After transitioning from the group’s home in Thomas 517 to the COVID-accommodating chapel, they have found a way to make their challenges work for them.

Maxwell Everett, a senior and the vice president of Singers, spoke about the attitude of the group despite rehearsals being different.

Forte explained that while the Singers cannot rehearse in person without masks, they have found larger masks that allow them to breathe better while they practice. 
MARISSA FORTE / COURTESY

“All singers are 12 feet apart, we all wear masks during rehearsal,” Everett said. “So there was a bit of a learning curve in that sense, just getting used to a new practice space and being able to hear each other while we’re so far apart. But I think that, you know, the board has done an excellent job in COVID safety, as well as making sure that everybody’s still getting to rehearsal, making sure attendance is high and that most of all everybody’s having a good time.”

Marissa Forte is the treasurer of the club and feels that moving to the chapel for rehearsals was a good idea, for both safety and their singing. 

“I really like the chapel and I think that it has really good acoustics in there so I think that’ll be like a positive thing that came out of it,” she said. 

A remote student this semester, Forte understands the experiences of remote students involved with the performing arts. In addition to being the treasurer, she is also the designated executive board member in charge of remote participation.

“This semester, we wanted to have more interaction with the remote people,” she said. “So, now that I’m remote and I’m a board member I’m trying to run the virtual choir part. So basically we just do the same things that the in-person part does but we just do it in a virtual setting… so we’re kind of caught up and then when it’s time to like record it we’ll all be on the same page.”

In lieu of in-person performances, Singers took initiative to pre-record songs for Manhattan College events they typically attend including Open Houses and Lessons and Carols, their annual Christmas event, which also took place online this year. 

“…They had helicopter-type drone things come in and recorded us really close up and they got helicopter view, it was really cool,” Forte said. “So I think that was a really nice thing that came out of it too because now we have this nice video that we wouldn’t have had if we had a concert like that.” 

Everett also discussed how he hopes more people will get involved in Singers, particularly because there is a scholarship offered to incoming freshmen that he wants more Manhattan applicants to be aware of.

“…It’s sort of hard to find on the Manhattan web page, but we offer a scholarship to those who are talented in music,” he said. “You have to be in two ensembles, so for me, I’m in Jazz Band and Singers and it’s just a great way to highlight the people who are really passionate about music.”

A typical Spring semester would promise Singers a long-awaited opportunity to travel to another state, where they would perform at other colleges and high schools. During the Canada trip of 2019, Singers also performed at a Canadian mass. 

Calista Baker, the secretary of Singers, recounts the trip was a great experience for the club’s members to perform in spaces outside of the Manhattan College campus. The 2020 Spring trip was cancelled due to COVID just weeks before the group was scheduled to leave. 

“Last year [2020] we were supposed to go to San Francisco,” said Baker. “But we got sent home right before Spring Break. Obviously travelling wouldn’t have been a safe option at that point last year or again this year.”

Though hopes for a trip this year are low, Baker remains hopeful to attend another trip with her Singers family before the conclusion of her senior year in 2022. 

“I’ve met like a lot of my really close friends from [Singers],” said Baker. “It’s not like a crazy commitment and the performances are always really fun. I look forward to [performances] at the end of each semester. It’s something I love doing.”

For more information on Singers, or how to get involved visit the Clubs and Organizations page on Manhattan College’s website.