A Meeting Of The Arts

The choir, art and productions departments produce their first-ever collaboration together


Rhett Cunningham

Both Choir and Art spent the better part of the first semester advancing on their curriculums as planned.

Irem Inan, Reporter

This past winter, while COVID-19 cases were rising, and spirits were falling, Liberty’s choir, art, and productions departments came together in hopes of finding a way to showcase the better part of the year — and, thanks to them, it’s readily available to watch.

“The goal is to create a slideshow of artwork that will be set to choir music,” Ms. Middendorf, one of the art teachers involved with the project, said. “We want our families, students, staff, and the community to be able to share in the beautiful vocals and visuals and celebrate our works that we have been working on.”

Both choir and art spent the better part of the first semester advancing on their curriculums as planned. Art students produced various paintings, drawings, and photographs; choir students practiced their songs for their planned concerts. However, as COVID-19 conditions worsened, choir’s fall and winter concerts had to be cancelled, and with virtual classes, there was hardly a way to showcase the art department’s hard work. But both camps were still determined to not let the pandemic get the better of the year.

“Ms. Kennedy had initiated the collaboration with the art department. We saw this as an exciting opportunity to get our student work out there,” Middendorf said. 

Ms. Kennedy, the director of choir, explained that this project was inspired by a project she took part in while working at a summer camp. 

“The process was pretty simple,” Kennedy said. “We had a meeting to discuss a rough idea of what the final product would look like. Then, [I] shared the musical selections the choirs had been preparing with the art department so we could see if any of the artwork students had created was directly correlated to the songs that would be presented. We quickly discovered that there was not going to be a direct correlation between the artwork and the song selections, and decided that ultimately that was not what mattered to us most in the end. We wanted to share a little piece of beauty, a part of the human experience if you will, with our community, so that’s what we did.”

The result is a series of stunning images — all captured or created by Liberty students — with the choir’s soothing vocals acting as a backtrack. It feels like a living museum, one worth getting lost in, satiating the collective sense of wanderlust 2020 left behind. 

Choir students gathered at Liberty on Dec. 14 to record the music they prepared over the course of the semester. At the same time, Mrs. Biere and Middendorf were taking photos of their students’ artwork to send to Mr. Weis, who would be combining the vocal track and artwork to produce the final product. This begs the question — how did this fit around the coronavirus? Kennedy found that COVID-19 was a reason to continue with the project, rather than halt work on it.

Ms. Kennedy conducts the choirs, as they gathered at Liberty on Dec. 14 to record the music they prepared over the course of the semester. (Rhett Cunningham)

“COVID-19 has presented obvious challenges this year, which is why we felt it was so important to put something out that reminded us that we are human and we are still here and that there is still beauty in the world,” Kennedy said. Singers wore masks at all times during the recording process, even though it impacted their ability to project their voices and breathe properly while singing. She added, “This project is actually the product of increased safety measures. Usually, the choirs have performed two concerts by this time in the semester, but due to COVID-19, presenting music in a safe way just had too many uncontrollable factors.”

This project is the culmination of the semester, for both departments.

“There are a multitude of different subjects, media, and topics covered in our artworks,” Middendorf said of the artwork in the video. “Due to this winter season that we are in currently, I did try to find larger collections of seasonal works of art depicting many different varieties of topics, landscapes, colors, and media.”

Both teachers were in agreement that there wasn’t a precise theme connecting the departments’ efforts—the common thread was, simply, art.

“At first, we explored the idea of having a theme, but ultimately decided that was not the main goal in our product,” Kennedy said. “We were more concerned with sharing the human experience through art and music not only with our students but our community as well … We really hope this inspires people to enjoy the simple pleasures of life such as music and art.”

She also expressed interest in this collaboration becoming an annual event.

“I know that my students are really excited about what we are doing, and I know the art department is also very excited about what we are doing. This is an idea we hope to develop and make a tradition at Liberty High School,” she continued. “This is an idea we would like to develop and produce annually.”

The video is available to watch here.