Tryouts for extracurricular activities go online

On Aug. 25, the Ministry of Education ordered schools to close until Sept. 11. SIS announced shortly after that classes […]

On Aug. 25, the Ministry of Education ordered schools to close until Sept. 11. SIS announced shortly after that classes would engage in distance learning, replacing the system of the online-offline hybrid classes that had been in place since the start of the school year. Following this decision, tryouts for extracurricular activities went online as well. While the tryouts for fall sports had ended by this point, with practices having already begun, auditions for the school play “The Nutcracker,” High School Orchestra (HSO), and Forensics were decided to be held virtually.

“I auditioned before school closed,” said Alyssa Lee (9), “The Nutcracker” actress. “I was a little confused upon learning that auditions were to be held online because to check if the person was right for the role, they would have to check her or his voice, body movements, or facial expressions. If they did it online, I thought that might not be possible.”

Extended auditions for “The Nutcracker” took place in late August. While students initially had the option of auditioning in person or by prerecorded video, it was announced that all auditions starting on Aug. 26 would be via video submission: students filled out an online application form, recorded their performances at home, then uploaded this video. Meanwhile, Forensics held live online tryouts after school from Sept. 1-4, during which students joined a Zoom call and executed their performances for their three prospective coaches. On the other hand, HSO had already gone through several days of auditions by the time school closed. Brass and percussion players, along with some woodwind players and junior and senior cellists, auditioned via Zoom.

“Honestly, there weren’t many differences in terms of holding auditions online versus in person,” said Christopher Lee (11), HSO cellist. “I still felt nervous playing in front of the teacher, and I still played to the best of my ability. The procedures were the same, and everything happened the same way, online or not. The only big difference was that due to sound quality and lag, it wasn’t easy to show dynamics, phrasing, or level of musicality.”

While the idea of online tryouts was not ideal for everyone, it nonetheless engendered the intended effect of selecting students for activities. However, given the circumstances of the COVID-19 spike, with cases remaining in the hundreds for the past couple of weeks, it is likely that extracurricular activities will be held online for a while. In unprecedented times as these, it is inevitable that modifications be made to ensure student safety: in fact, the school play had its first virtual rehearsal on Aug. 27, and HSO soon followed on Aug. 31. Some complications included audio feedback and difficulty hearing instrumental sounds, but ultimately, online practices ensured that students engaged in their activities within the comfort and safety of their homes.

“It’s nice when people are here in person because I can go back and forth between groups a little bit more smoothly,” said Jared Rock, Forensics coach. “Holding practices online doesn’t have quite the same feel. Some of the verbal delivery, some of the intonation, is not quite as nuanced by the time it comes through online. You can still get a good sense overall of how the person is as a speaker, but a lot of the quality is lost. Now, our first two tournaments this year are online anyway. In that sense, trying out online works out almost perfectly for the first semester of KAIAC Forensics.”

On Aug. 25, the Ministry of Education ordered schools to close until Sept. 11. SIS announced shortly after that classes would engage in distance learning, replacing the system of the online-offline hybrid classes that had been in place since the start of the school year. Following this decision, tryouts for extracurricular activities went online as well. While the tryouts for fall sports had ended by this point, with practices having already begun, auditions for the school play “The Nutcracker,” High School Orchestra (HSO), and Forensics were decided to be held virtually.

“I auditioned before school closed,” said Alyssa Lee (9), “The Nutcracker” actress. “I was a little confused upon learning that auditions were to be held online because to check if the person was right for the role, they would have to check her or his voice, body movements, or facial expressions. If they did it online, I thought that might not be possible.”

Extended auditions for “The Nutcracker” took place in late August. While students initially had the option of auditioning in person or by prerecorded video, it was announced that all auditions starting on Aug. 26 would be via video submission: students filled out an online application form, recorded their performances at home, then uploaded this video. Meanwhile, Forensics held live online tryouts after school from Sept. 1-4, during which students joined a Zoom call and executed their performances for their three prospective coaches. On the other hand, HSO had already gone through several days of auditions by the time school closed. Brass and percussion players, along with some woodwind players and junior and senior cellists, auditioned via Zoom.

“Honestly, there weren’t many differences in terms of holding auditions online versus in person,” said Christopher Lee (11), HSO cellist. “I still felt nervous playing in front of the teacher, and I still played to the best of my ability. The procedures were the same, and everything happened the same way, online or not. The only big difference was that due to sound quality and lag, it wasn’t easy to show dynamics, phrasing, or level of musicality.”

While the idea of online tryouts was not ideal for everyone, it nonetheless engendered the intended effect of selecting students for activities. However, given the circumstances of the COVID-19 spike, with cases remaining in the hundreds for the past couple of weeks, it is likely that extracurricular activities will be held online for a while. In unprecedented times as these, it is inevitable that modifications be made to ensure student safety: in fact, the school play had its first virtual rehearsal on Aug. 27, and HSO soon followed on Aug. 31. Some complications included audio feedback and difficulty hearing instrumental sounds, but ultimately, online practices ensured that students engaged in their activities within the comfort and safety of their homes.

“It’s nice when people are here in person because I can go back and forth between groups a little bit more smoothly,” said Jared Rock, Forensics coach. “Holding practices online doesn’t have quite the same feel. Some of the verbal delivery, some of the intonation, is not quite as nuanced by the time it comes through online. You can still get a good sense overall of how the person is as a speaker, but a lot of the quality is lost. Now, our first two tournaments this year are online anyway. In that sense, trying out online works out almost perfectly for the first semester of KAIAC Forensics.”

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