KALAMAZOO, Mich. — It has been a full year into the pandemic, and live performers have had a tough year.
Although, the changes have given a West Michigan choral group a chance to get creative and do something good for the community.
Choir students at Western Michigan University are adapting to a new way of performing and through it are helping social justice organizations in the process.
The students have created online performances that align with eight different organization's missions to raise awareness and invoke change.
"We were wondering, at this time last year, whether or not we could even continue with choir, and some choir directors were even concerned that by the time the pandemic had subsided that choir would be changed," said Dr. Kimberly Dunn Adams, the Director of Choral Activities for Western Michigan University.
It has been 365 days since COVID-19 hit Michigan, and while a lot has changed, many groups are adapting and finding new ways to do things.
Western Michigan University's choirs are included in that, creating a project called "Choir for Good" which came out of two different ideas.
"One was that we were afraid choir was going away. So 'Choir for Good' shows that choir is here for good. It's not going anywhere. Then the second is that choir can be more than just singing, it can be more than just making music. It can also help create good in the community, so choir can do good," said Dr. Adams.
The almost 70 choir students were split into eight different groups picking social justice organizations to help. Among those organizations is the YWCA of Kalamazoo.
The students put together performances and also created an opportunity for community members to donate.
"Without the support of that community and individuals, we could not accomplish our mission here at the YWCA. It takes a community to eliminate racism and empower women, and it's just crucial to our services," said Sherry Brockway, the Director of Emergency Response Services for the YWCA of Kalamazoo.
Dr. Adams said the students handpicked the organizations to align with their music and did extensive research to become educated to share this project with others.
"There are musicians and humans all over the world that use choral music as an agent for change. So, we're not doing anything new there. What we have done is turn it into a formalized research project/performance in a way to try to connect to our community," said Dr. Adams.
The performances and their matching organizations will be available for the entire month of March.
To watch and learn more about them, click here.