The video showcases the voices of 50 of the choir’s members as they sing, “Rise Up,” written by Andra Day. While the song plays, pictures of the choir members singing in their homes move across the screen, intermingling with photos of their friends and family working in essential industries.
“I wanted to give the students a project where they would have the opportunity to record individually, and that was a huge challenge for a lot of them,” said LHS choir director Laura Carreon. “They would have performed that song on the Disneyland stage on tour, but that was, of course, cancelled.”
Leilani Ford’s voice and image open the video. She said she recorded herself singing multiple times before submitting her video but enjoyed hearing the voices of her friends come together after being apart for so long.
“Toward the end, it was really rewarding once it was all put together,” Leilani said. “It was good to see everyone singing together virtually. It was really nice seeing everyone come together and perform for the community.”
Carreon, like most teachers, is facing the challenge of continuing to educate her students from a distance. When she decided to offer the opportunity for them to participate in a virtual choir video, she chose a song they were already comfortable with.
“I had to research a lot,” Carron admitted. “There are a lot of choirs trying to do something like this, and it takes a lot of hours and editing. We had over 50 singers participate, but not all submitted videos, some just recorded their voice on their smart phone and sent me their file.”
Carreon tapped into her husband’s talent to put the files together in a cohesive video. As the recording arts teacher at Heritage High School, he had the audio engineering mastering and mixing skills to edit out barking dogs and slamming doors, leaving only the sounds of the students’ voices.
With the music and voices complete, Carreon took an idea from her niece and choir member, Gabby Carreon, to include photos of essential workers.
“I had texted my aunt right before we got the news about school being done for good that we should do the ‘Rise Up’ video, and she already had that as an idea,” Gabby said. “But I told her we should put pictures and videos of first responders, so that was another added in thing in the video.”
Choir members sent in pictures of their friends and loved ones working in law enforcement, as first responders, in the medical community and other essential fields. Carreon said most of the photos are of people working in the East County community.
Gabby was one of the students who sent in an audio recording. It wasn’t as simple as singing into her smartphone, though. There were some specific steps involved.
“We had to have one headphone in our ear, playing a video of (Ms. Carreon) conducting and the accompaniment, and we had to sing what our part would be to the video, so that you couldn’t hear the accompaniment,” Gabby said. “When I saw the video, it made me kind of emotional.”
Gabby was not alone in her reaction to the completed product. Carreon said after the 30 hours of editing that went into it, she felt very happy with the end result.
“I think that the moment that I finally got to see it all come together was just an incredible feeling,” Carreon said. “The responses that I immediately got from it, from people I didn’t know and hearing the responses from the people who were in that video, was overwhelming and makes every moment of time that we poured into it so worth it.”