Shifting to an online format has created new opportunities for the Lake Superior Youth Chorus. The group debuted a performance online May 17 not knowing what to expect.

"We got a ton of positive feedback from families," executive director Jenna Kelly said. "Despite everything that we are facing right now, it truly felt like a community event."

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Families watched the live premiere together, some kids on the phone with each other. Grandparents who live far away were able to participate, too.

"I think that this kind of opened up a new world for us," Kelly said. "We had never really considered broadcasting our performances before."

Kelly said the group relies on performance revenue to meet expenses, so they continue to face challenges. She praised the "name your price" feature on the Ludus ticketing software they're using, another new thing learned during the pandemic.

"We saw an outpouring of love and support that we did not expect or anticipate," Kelly said. "This community has been so supportive, and there's been a ton of outreach."

There is still uncertainty for how things will work for the group in the fall. Choir singers, because they breath deeply and exhale forcefully while grouped close together, have a particular interest in being safe in light of COVID-19.

"We want to manage it safely," Kelly said. "We're working through some scenario plans."

The organization is encouraging Northland residents to continue watching their end-of-season performance, a piece written for the group by Minnesota composer Eric Barnum titled “I Sing of the Northland.”

The video is on the Lake Superior Youth Chorus YouTube channel. For even more fun, including teachers lip-syncing to the Spice Girls, watch the full virtual event.

For more information about LSYC, visit lsyouthchorus.org.