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Graham-Kapowsin High School band performs social distancing concert

With classes online until at least April 24 due to coronavirus concerns, Washington teachers are getting creative.

GRAHAM, Wash. — When Graham-Kapowsin High School's wind ensemble concert was cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions, band teacher David Stewart got creative.

His grade 9-12 students each submitted an iPad video recording of them playing Canzon per Sonar No. 2 by Giovanni Gabrieli. Stewart then synced up the tracks through editing, creating the Bethel School District's first-ever "Social Distancing Band."

"I figured this would be a good way to give them a performance of sorts, and hopefully give them something that they're really proud of and can remember," Stewart said. 

Students at GKHS are adapting to online learning, recording exercises for Stewart to grade and learning that melodies can happen both in and out of the classroom.

"I'm really proud of my students and how they're handling this big change in their lives and the schedule," Stewart said. "So, you know, when I saw this final product, I was really proud of it and I want them to be recognized for their hard work." 

Stewart was inspired by composer Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir, in which Whitacre brings together people around the world in web camera melody. Tik Tok's duet feature is another example of online collaboration in which users can riff off each other in the app.

He hopes others can see his students performing in a time when the news surrounding coronavirus is heavy, and feel just a little bit lighter.

"I think people would like to see you know, some students making the best of this difficult situation and finding ways to continue making music together," Stewart said.

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