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North Van and U.S. students collaborate on virtual choir performance

June 03, 2020


Choir Students from North Vancouver's Carson Graham Secondary collaborate with students from Orange County School of the Arts for a virtual performance that was uploaded online recently. screengrab weareocsa/

by Ben Bengtson/North Shore News

The performance was cancelled, but their voices are still being heard.

Lending new credence to the phrase “the show must go on,” a group of students from Carson Graham Secondary have joined up with students from Orange County School of the Arts, a performing arts high school in Santa Ana, Calif., for a virtual choir collaboration.

About 25 students from Carson and 25 from the Orange County school have lent their voices and beaming expressions, from the comfort and safety of their individual homes, to a rendition of composer Kyle Pedersen’s epic about cope, compassion, mercy and unity on “Can We Sing the Darkness to Light?”

The collaboration video was uploaded to YouTube last week.

Frank Lee, the choral director at Carson, led a cohort of more than 60 students from the North Vancouver school’s choir program to California in March for several days of music and choir performances, clinics and in-person collaborations with other U.S. high schools.

They group left B.C. on March 11, but by the time they touched down in Anaheim, Calif., the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic had already changed everything, according to Lee.

“It was cancelled by the time we landed in Anaheim,” said Lee, eluding to the State of California’s suspension of events due to new physical distancing requirements. “We were all pretty disheartened.”


Soon after, the group touched back down in B.C. and a virtual partnership was struck between the two schools that had originally planned to perform together.

The virtual choir collaboration, of which the audio and video technology was provided by and funded by the Orange County School of the Arts, was recorded in April.

While the video doesn’t replace the brilliance of being together live and in-person for a performance, it’s still a great attempt at collaboration between two schools – from different countries – during a challenging time, said Lee.

“This sentiment of connecting is amazing,” he said.