Findlay High School show choir makes COVID safe return to the stage

Hundreds of high school performers across the state are following guidance by the Ohio Educational Music Association to bring singing and dancing back safely while staying clear of COVID-19.
Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 7:11 PM EST
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FINDLAY, Ohio (WTVG) - The sounds of show choirs across the state can be heard once again, including in Findlay with performance group: First Edition.

“The adrenaline you get from being on stage and performing especially this year is astounding,” said senior performer Kayla Bressler.

“Before it was just a pure adrenaline feeling but now it’s like I’m hungry, I want this,” said senior performer Jack Kenny. “I want every last moment of this.”

The moves to make music once again has come as no easy task. According to the President of the Ohio Educational Music Association, the return of singing and dancing for high schoolers differs across the state.

“There are over 600 school districts in Ohio and if you took a survey you would probably have 600 different plans for what the music ensembles have done, what the music educators have done,” said President Dr. Ann Usher.

For months staff at Findlay High School were unsure just how to choreograph a covid safe comeback.

“It’s really been the unknown that’s what’s been hard you know,” said Findlay High School Choir Director Kevin Manley. “Can we have a show, can we not have a show? How many people can come, do we wear masks, do we not wear masks?”

Since the pandemic began Director Kevin Manley has strategized with his students, met with district officials, and even personally worked with Governor Mike DeWine’s cabinet to create a precautionary plan with performing.

“We just went right to the state and worked with the state health director on what the guidelines are for performing arts,” said Manley. “And we got some things that could make it possible for us to still do our thing and still be safe.”

Following guidance from the top, partner interaction is limited and masks are on at all times, but voices are still being heard. The group hopes their adaptions can set an example for other show choirs across the state to follow step by step.

“Yeah I feel like it’s a safe thing, I mean sports get to go out there and do their thing so why can’t we?” said senior Kayla Bressler. “Any chance we get to perform I’m excited to be there, everyone is excited to be there.”

Findlay First Edition performers are following the school district's guidance and quarantining...
Findlay First Edition performers are following the school district's guidance and quarantining any exposed or COVID positive testing student performers during their season.(Jack Bassett)

In Findlay First Edition’s first week back competing in nearly a year, the group sang and danced their way to Grand Champion at Marion Harding High School. The group doesn’t perform for another month but they will be practicing until then with COVID restrictions all in place.

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