San Juan Faculty Choir featured in inventive video program

San Juan College Choir featured in creative video program

‘How Can I Preserve from Singing’ was shot over fall semester

Mike Easterling
| Farmington Day by day Occasions


  • Farmington native Taylor Woodard recorded the audio and shot the video for the challenge.
  • This system options roughly 17 picks.
  • It may be considered Dec. eight on the San Juan Faculty web site and the varsity’s social media platforms.

FARMINGTON — By her personal admission, San Juan Faculty choral music director Virginia Nickels-Hircock was at a inventive useless finish by early final summer time because it turned more and more clear the COVID-19 pandemic was going to be round for the lengthy haul.

“I had nothing — nothing,” Nickels-Hircock mentioned emphatically, describing her uncharacteristic lack of enthusiasm for something associated to music. “I did not play the piano, I did not sing all spring and all summer time. I did not take heed to music or choral CDs or the radio. I took a complete break.”

Nickels-Hircock’s darkish temper was a product of the hopelessness she felt when she thought of how unlikely it might be that the various vocal group tasks she oversees would be capable to resume their actions anytime quickly. Along with main the San Juan Faculty Choir, Nickels-Hircock is the director of the Caliente Neighborhood Refrain and even leads a month-to-month “beer choir” night time at a neighborhood bar.

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It might be truthful to say that her devotion to vocal music is a gigantic a part of her life. And when the pandemic positioned all that on maintain, Nickels-Hircock discovered herself treading water emotionally, unable to depend on the facility of music to maintain her spirits afloat.

Happily, she discovered a life preserver simply in time. When the faculty’s fall semester started, she and different music college members devised a approach to resume in-person instruction that conformed with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s public security orders, largely by retaining college students masked and socially distanced from one another as they met for sophistication in cavernous rooms and even outside areas.

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Even higher, she and her fellow music instructors developed a plan to carry scholar showcase occasions that will take the place of the end-of-semester live shows the faculty’s music teams historically carry out. The showcases could be streamed on the faculty’s web site and social media platforms, and there could be no audiences current.

It took nearly your complete semester for Nickels-Hircock to make such a program for the San Juan Faculty Choir a actuality, however she completed up the work just some days in the past, permitting the choir showcase, “How Can I Preserve from Singing,” to be streamed this week.

“I’ve to let you know, I believe it may be actually entertaining,” she mentioned of this system, for which capturing started in September and concluded on Dec. 2.

Nickels-Hircock mentioned this system is much less a standard choral live performance and extra a collection of music movies. It consists of roughly 17 picks and options all method and dimension of teams — all the pieces from the total choir of almost two dozen members to smaller teams of only a handful of performers — singing a mixture of folks, Broadway, vacation and pop tunes.

The challenge couldn’t have been accomplished with out the work of Taylor Woodard, who was a Nickels-Hircock scholar at Piedra Vista Excessive Faculty earlier than he went off to school on the famend Berklee Faculty of Music in Boston and completed his modern music diploma at Columbia Faculty in Chicago. Now 26, Woodard has had his pursuit of a graduate diploma interrupted by the pandemic and located himself again in Farmington in want of a challenge to maintain himself occupied and construct his portfolio.

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Nickels-Hircock mentioned she had a imaginative and prescient of how a full choir program may very well be compiled over the course of the semester, however she lacked the technical experience to do it herself. Woodard graciously stepped in and did the heavy lifting, she mentioned.

In some circumstances, Woodard was in a position to document the singers as a gaggle, however in others, they had been recorded individually, then edited and blended for a grasp recording. Nickels-Hircock acknowledged the tedious nature of that work and mentioned the final piece that was recorded and shot for this system — a efficiency of the title theme from the Broadway musical “Little Store of Horrors” — featured solely three ladies however nonetheless required 4 and a half hours of labor from begin to end.

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The visuals for this system had been one other matter completely. Within the case of some items, the video is so simple as a “Brady Bunch” style-montage of speaking, or singing, heads of all of the choir members. However different tunes had been shot and recorded outdoor for social distancing causes, and that gave Nickels-Hircock and Woodard the chance to reap the benefits of the excessive desert surroundings. The video for a efficiency of “Scarborough Truthful,” for example, was shot within the yard of choir members Allen and Karon Lyon, and options drone footage.

“It is fairly spectacular, in my view,” she mentioned.

Whereas this was the primary time Nickels-Hircock has been concerned in a challenge of this nature, she mentioned she was not a stranger to creating visible ideas.

“For anyone who has seen any of my Caliente or PV exhibits, I’ve a imaginative and prescient (for the way it ought to look),” she mentioned. “I actually do suppose the visible facet is essential. I believe it influences what folks hear.”

However Woodard’s involvement helped her ideas attain one other degree, Nickels-Hircock mentioned.

“Generally I see Cirque de Soleil, and it winds up being a youngsters’s truthful,” she mentioned sheepishly, explaining that her former scholar’s experience and creativity had been invaluable. ” … I did not have the technical means to do something.

“Taylor is aware of me and is aware of what I need,” she continued. “He is ready to go not simply off what I need, however he prepares his personal concepts. I’ve completely loved this collaboration challenge with him.”

Regardless of all of the work, Nickels-Hircock mentioned the expertise has been so pleasurable it has renewed her spirit. She already has turned her consideration to planning one other video program for the spring semester, one which will probably be centered on extra conventional choral music.

“Folks are actually coming to me with concepts, which prompts me to work tougher,” she mentioned. ” … I am not in some darkish place anymore. I’m looking forward to the longer term.”

“How Can I Preserve from Singing” will probably be streamed at 7 p.m. Dec. eight at, and

Mike Easterling could be reached at 505-564-4610 or Help native journalism with a digital subscription.

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