Decatur High School Chorus hosts first concert in two years


Keson Graham

Chorus director Dr. ES addresses audience during performance.

For the past two years, the Decatur High School (DHS) chorus has only been heard through tinny computer speakers. The students rehearsed from their bedrooms in groups based on vocal range, with only one person at a time unmuted and singing. 

“It was really hard to sing when we were all muted and/or lagged,” sophomore chorus member Lillian Turner said. 

But on Tuesday, Oct. 19, the chorus gave their first performance since the 2019-2020 school year. The hour-long concert featured different kinds of music, ranging from audition pieces, songs in Latin, and the Beatles, all sung through matching black masks. Many performers and audience members were grateful to be live again after such a long hiatus. 

“The performing arts are back, thank goodness,” Decatur Performs board member Megan Johnson said when invited on stage between pieces. 

The show also included extra additions like a string quintet, a dance number, and even a happy birthday serenade for a chorus member. 

 No one was more exhilarated by the return than chorus director Dr. Elise Eskew, more commonly known as Dr. ES. 

“It’s amazing [to be back],” Eskew said. “We can only really do what we do in person.” 

Students feel the same. 

“I’ve learned a lot by being in person instead of on Google Meet.” Turner said. 

Despite the benefits of in person rehearsing, things aren’t completely back to normal. First, masks make singing significantly more difficult.

“We do a lot of nonverbal communication, and that’s just so hard [with masks], that part is really frustrating,” Eskew said.  

They also weren’t able to accomplish as much musically. During the concert, they sang three or four fewer pieces than they typically did in previous years.

“We were dormant for so long it’s almost like we’re starting over,” Eskew said. 

This was due simply to lack of experience. Usually, the only class that had never performed with DHS would be the freshman. But this year, the sophomores were in the same boat. 

“They hadn’t had much prior to this year, so we had to just go slower,” Eskew explained. 

Regardless of these inconveniences, she remains optimistic. 

“I see it as more of a beginning, because we sort of have to have a baseline to start again,” Eskew said.