In an age of people quarantining themselves at home because of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic, the Collins Hill High School orchestra has become an Internet sensation.
A month ago, the orchestra recorded a virtual performance of the song “A Million Dreams,” which is from the film “The Greatest Showman,” with each member performing in front of a computer camera from their respective homes. Collins Hill director of orchestras Rosie Riquelme came up with the idea of an online performance as a way to lift the spirits of the school’s student body, particularly its senior class, to whom the performance was dedicated.
“We normally celebrate our senior class at our spring concert and our banquet, both of which were cancelled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Riquelme said. “My heart really broke for our seniors. I hate that their senior activities and graduation ceremony were taken from them. I wanted them to still feel special and celebrated.”
The compiled video performance struck a chord with more than just Collins Hill’s student body, however. To date, nearly 8,900 people have viewed the video, which was posted on YouTube by Riquelme on April 17.
That is a far bigger audience than the school’s orchestra teacher expected to attract.
“I have been blown away by the reaction by the public! I am glad that there has been such a positive reaction because hopefully that will make the seniors feel that much more supported, special, and celebrated,” Riquelme said.
Riquelme said it wasn’t easy to make the video. She had to make what is known as a “click track,” that included a recording of the song and Riquelme counting ‘1-2-3-4,’ so the students would have something that they could play along to. That meant students would not be able to make any changes in the tempo of the song, whether that meant slowing down or speeding up, at the same time.
The students had to wear headphones while performing so they could hear the “click track” without it being audible in the recording of their performances.
“The students then submitted their videos to me as they would any normal homework assignment,” Riquelme said. “From there, I downloaded all of the videos to my computer and cropped them so that everyone started at the same time and I used Soundtrap to not only edit but also adjust the balance of the audio tracks. I used Adobe Premier Pro to upload all the videos and stack them so that they all played at the same time.”
The video of the orchestra’s performance can be viewed at bit.ly/3bn2uRN.