Pocantico Hills School students lost their chance to perform on stage in front of hundreds of people this spring, but vocal/music teacher Sheila DePaola gave them virtual opportunities in the form of Zoom concerts, or “Zoomcerts,” as she calls them.
“I kind of felt like let them finish what they started,” Ms. DePaola said, adding that students had been learning the songs and accompanying dance moves before COVID-19 led to the school’s closure.
After conducting rehearsals via the newly popular video conferencing platform, she scheduled several Zoomcerts. On May 5, the first- and second-grade chorus performed Disney songs, including “Mickey Mouse Mash-Up,” “You Can fly” from “Peter Pan,” “The Bare Necessities” from “The Jungle Book.”
“I hope you keep up all of your hard work so I want you to just enjoy every minute, have a lot of fun and get your Disney ready because it is on, OK?” Ms. DePaola said in welcoming everyone.
Afterward, third- and fourth-graders performed “On Our Way to Awesome,” a series of songs by John Jacobson and Roger Emerson.
“Boys and girls, tonight I am dedicating your concert to you and your amazing families that you are home with and spending a lot of time with,” Ms. DePaola said. “You guys have displayed an amazing work ethic, perseverance and superpowers no matter how far apart we are and I want you to keep up the hard work.”
On May 22, children in pre-kindergarten through grade 8, as well as staff, joined a school singalong. Ms. DePaola and Principal Adam Brown performed a duet of “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.” The school held a patriotic Zoomcert on June 12 in honor of Flag Day.
A total of about 100 students and staff attended the May 5 performances, and 76 people did for the singalong. “The kids and teachers kind of need that community spirit,” Ms. DePaola said.
Ms. DePaola has been meeting weekly with seventh- and eighth-graders on Zoom. “They just wanted that connection and I normally see those kids every other day,” she said.