American Festival Chorus keeps an annual tradition going virtually

Photo: Weston Lee Allen, former AFCO photographer/board member

For Veterans Day, the American Festival Chorus and Orchestra hosted a special concert for veterans on Wednesday night. Because of the coronavirus the concert was held virtually and on KVNU’s For the People program on Wednesday Elaine Olson, of the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University, said it was a process to make it happen.

“But of course, Craig Jessop, he has a vision and he knows how to work and he knows the right people,” Olson said. “That’s probably the key, the right people to help us make this a world-class concert for everyone to appreciate and enjoy. And, of course, this is the very first concert we ever did as an organization back in 2008, this is our 13th annual Veteran’s Day Memorial concert. And we couldn’t let a pandemic stop us from doing it.”

Olson said it made many singers step out of their comfort zone because they are choir singers, not soloists.

“We have been working on this since probably about the end of July when we had a reality that we were not going to be able to come back together in person to rehearse. Singing is a super-spreader (of COVID-19), and so it’s been hard because when that is a craft or a talent that you have, it is difficult to say ‘I can set that all aside and I will not go to rehearsal, we’ll do our rehearsals online’.”

She said they meet every Wednesday night on Zoom to rehearse. If you missed it on Wednesday night, you can still view the Veterans Day concert at their website AmericanFestivalChorus.org and on YouTube.

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