MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Teachers are getting creative during distance learning. A band director in St. Cloud found a way for the students to still play together.

The seventh- and eighth-grade band at Cathedral High School had two concerts cancelled due to COVID-19. But that didn’t stop them from putting on a show.

Making it happen took some ingenuity from Cathedral High School band director Donnell Lastine-Chopp.

“Online there have been so many of these virtual performances by professional bands and choirs and they’ve just been amazing to me and I just thought, ‘I want to do something like that with my kids just so we have something to remember this year by,'” Lastine-Chopp said.

So she asked each seventh- and eighth-grader in band to record their part to “Summer Nights” from “Grease,” a song they had rehearsed for a performance that was called off.

“It’s a new time and everyone has to get creative on how you do certain things,” seventh-grader Dominic Kremer said.

It took some practice to get things just right.

“I listened to it a couple times first to get the speed down and then I played a couple times and then I recorded,” seventh-grader Elizabeth Krueger said.

They each sent in a video. Then it was up to Donnell to piece the performance together.

“So I spliced in each little track and tried to match them all up and sometimes you have to bring some kids down and some kids up,” Lastine-Chopp said.

Students say they miss being together as a band. This was a way to come together while staying apart.

“Once I saw the final project, I thought, man, this is a really good idea, I want to do this more,” Kremer said.

They learned a valuable lesson along the way and hope anyone who watches it does too.

“I hope they see it’s not impossible to make things work no matter what’s happening,” Krueger said.

The band director is putting together a similar video for her ninth-grade band and the tenth- through twelfth-grade band. They’ll soon go up on the Cathedral High School Facebook page.

Jennifer Mayerle

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