Coe, choir persevere through COVID-19
COVID-19 has severely affected many teachers’ teaching styles; however, few were more greatly affected than choral director, Thomas Coe’s, style.
Coe has been the choir teacher at LaPorte High School for 22 years, and his dedication to the program has been evident throughout the years, especially the 20-21 school year.
Choir is a difficult class to teach through a computer screen. It requires active participation in the classroom to ensure the quality of the performance; however, with COVID-19 protocols, the choir is unable to sing to the full capacity they once did.
Despite the setbacks, Coe has persevered through the challenges the virus has sent his way. During online learning, Coe had interactive Zoom meetings to engage his students through the screen.
“We weren’t really learning a lot of music after Christmas, so we did activities I thought were engaging. We did a National Anthem bracket, scavenger hunts, and interactive activities,” Coe said.
Furthermore, in order to create flawless virtual concerts, Coe spent countless hours working on recordings of the songs for his students to follow along with.
“I have to teach students how to record themselves. I made lots of guide tracks and videos for them to sing along with. Then, I had to learn the technology to put all the recordings together,” Coe said.
Shifting back to in-person instruction tremendously affected Coe’s teaching style again. He wanted to find ways to have his students socialize while maintaining safety protocols.
“I’ve tried really hard to give the students opportunities to interact with each other. It’s hard because of COVID-19 restrictions, but we’re doing what we can. I’ve even let the students be in charge of the socializing a little bit because I feel they know better what they will enjoy,” Coe said.
Although the choir concerts have been online this year, there is hope for an in-person concert. If the current levels of COVID-19 remain, the music program will have a combined concert with the band, choir, and orchestra.
“Each group, band, choir, and orchestra, will play one song each. We will be socially distant. The concert will be an hour to an hour and a half. Also, we will recognize the seniors, like we would normally do,” Coe said.
Even though drastic changes occurred this year, Coe’s passion for music is evident. His dedication to the music program will never change, and his impact will be felt for generations.