Watch on the district Facebook page and YouTube channel
Broadalbin-Perth alumnus Alex Hitrick ‘16 started his first year as the junior/senior high school choral instructor and music teacher at his alma mater this past September. In a school year like none other, Hitrick said he and his colleagues in the music department started to think about what the school’s holiday concert would look like — or if they would even have one — “pretty much in the first week of school.”
Because of COVID-19 health and safety measures, Hitrick, along with high school band teacher Michael Graves (also a B-P alumnus) and junior high band teacher Laura Jacaruso, decided to have a virtual concert this year. It proved to be a demanding project that required creativity and technological savvy to overcome many obstacles, but it was a challenge that they faced head on.
Months of planning and hours of hard work have gone into coordinating the B-P Junior/Senior High School holiday concert, which will premiere at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 22 on both the Broadalbin-Perth Facebook page and YouTube channel. The concert will feature performances from both the junior/senior high school chorus and band, with a special rendition of “The Twelve Days of COVID,” featuring a memorable duet from Senior High School Principal Mark Brooks and Junior High School Principal Wayne Bell.
“Even a pandemic can’t quiet the sound of music during the holiday season at B-P,” Superintendent of Schools Stephen Tomlinson said. “I am extremely proud of the music department — two of whom are B-P graduates — and the dedication they have shown to instill a love for music in our students. Against all odds, they found a really creative way to bring us all some holiday cheer.”
So how did this virtual concert come to be? The behind the scenes work was a LOT more intensive than you might think.
The first issue to consider was song selection. Since the concert would be streamed online, any copyrighted songs would have to be “cleared,” or approved for use. Requests were submitted to clear their original song choices, but Hitrick said only one music publishing company got back to him. Out with Mariah Carey and Paul McCartney, and on to “plan B.” Luckily Hitrick and his colleagues are also skilled music composers, so they arranged their own medley of three public domain songs, which don’t require special permission to use. Problem solved.
The music team next had to think about how to pre-record over 100 students and 20 staff members that are featured in the virtual concert and figure out what visual footage would accompany the music. Hitrick has experience producing his own music, has a background in music technology and says he has been editing video since he was twelve years old. Instead of recording a large group performance, each band student recorded their own “track” for the concert, and chorus students recorded in small groups of 3-6 singers at a time. Hitrick ended up with just over 200 individual audio tracks that needed to be edited together for the final product.
Over the last couple of months, Hitrick also recorded “behind the scenes” video footage of the kids rehearsing and recording their tracks — all with his iPhone 7+ — that was edited together to provide a visual backdrop for the concert.
Hitrick credits the district with approving the purchase of a Mac computer with Final Cut and Logic Pro editing programs and an 8-track channel recording interface for the music department, which made recording and editing the concert a much more streamlined process.
A lot of time and effort went into making this year’s holiday concert a reality. So when you tune in next week for B-P’s virtual holiday concert, make sure you stick around for the end credits and give the B-P music department a round of applause too.
Alex Hitrick: Producer, Mixer, Video Editor and Music Arranger
Mike Graves: Producer and Assistant Editor and Music Arranger
Laura Jacaruso: Producer and Assistant Editor