A Collins Hill High School teacher and her students didn’t let social distancing keep them from making beautiful music together in celebration of the school’s seniors. Rosie Riquelme, Collins Hill High School’s director of orchestras, wanted to lift the spirits of the school’s seniors. “We normally celebrate our senior class at our spring concert and our banquet, both of which were cancelled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Riquelme said. “My heart really broke for our seniors. I hate that their senior activities and graduation ceremony were taken from them. I wanted them to still feel special and celebrated.”
Riquelme came up with the idea of recording a virtual performance of the school’s orchestra and then uploading it to YouTube. She chose the upbeat and inspirational song “A Million Dreams” from the 2018 motion picture The Greatest Showman, but she says after that, she was stumped. “I had no clue how to do this, so I found a professional company online that would make it for us,” Riquelme said. “However, the price was pretty steep so I decided that I would learn how to make the video myself. Thank goodness for YouTube tutorials.”
Riquelme added the process wasn’t easy. “I had to make a ‘click-track’ for the students to play along to.” She said. “The click track included a recording of the piece, as well as me counting ‘1-2-3-4’. This way, when there was a change in speed, everyone slowed down at the same pace so they would still be together. They had to use headphones to listen to the click track otherwise the click track would be audible in their videos. The students then submitted their videos to me as they would any normal homework assignment. From there, I downloaded all of the videos to my computer and cropped them so that everyone started at the same time and I used Soundtrap to not only edit but also adjust the balance of the audio tracks. I used Adobe Premier Pro to upload all the videos and stack them so that they all played at the same time,” Riquelme said.
The video is a hit. Nearly four weeks after it was posted, more than 8,700 people have viewed it. Riquelme is overjoyed. “I have been blown away by the reaction by the public! I am glad that there has been such a positive reaction because hopefully that will make the seniors feel that much more supported, special, and celebrated,” Riquelme said.