LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A choir in Oregon has found a way to safely gather in-person to make sweet music together during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Students at Chemeketa Community College drive their vehicles to a parking lot just outside of Salem, grab a microphone and tune into their car radios.READ MORE: Pomona Police Recover Missing Teen, Alleged Victim of Human Trafficking
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way and we had a will to create music and to create community again,” Kerry Burtis, Director of Music at the college, tells CBS affiliate KOIN.
Burtis says he came across “this great idea” that he saw about “driveway choirs or car choirs” and spent months researching and preparing the necessary equipment.
“Each student has a microphone in their car and that’s how they input their sound, as it were. So ours is wireless, and so that signal goes to the mixing board. And then the mixing board, instead of putting in speakers to it, we use an FM transmitter,” he explains.
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'Car choir' brings together students at Chemeketa Community College https://t.co/30QrRtnw8p
— Statesman Journal (@Salem_Statesman) January 20, 2021
The set up allows the students to hear Burtis, a piano player and their fellow classmates.
“It’s just like a drive in movie theater,” he says. “There’s zero latency. And so they tune in and literally they’re in the same room with each other on that FM radio station in their car.”
The college approved the “car choir” concept in December and launched it in January. The group meets on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. So far, it’s a big hit with students.
“It’s so much better than on Zoom,” student Michael White says.
“It’s really nice to be able sing with other people and get that interaction,” Kaitlyn Davis tells KOIN.
“It’s been kind of surreal. I haven’t’ been able to do much music wise since the pandemic, so it’s been really nice,” explains MacKenzie Rolf.MORE NEWS: Orange County Sees Rise in COVID-19 Hospitalizations
“Singers are passionate people about singing and they will get together under any circumstance to sing,” Burtis says. “Rain or sun or sleet or snow, it doesn’t matter. Singers want to be together to make music together.”