Like American Idol? Celebrated Butler County choir continues its auditions — by video

One of southwest Ohio’s most acclaimed high school choral programs has been forced by the coronavirus to go to remote video auditions.

The Fairfield High School Choraliers, which won international recognition in the 2012 World Choir Games hosted in Cincinnati, was forced to abandon its traditional, in-person auditions by students hoping join next school year’s group.

The show choir, which is honored with road signs leading into the Butler County city, is a source of pride beyond Fairfield Schools into the entire community.

In 2017 the high school choir celebrated its 50th anniversary but the group has never held video remote auditions in its long history.

Explore MORE: At 50 years old, Fairfield’s Choraliers continue winning honors

“In the past, students have come into the audition room and been able to talk, answer questions, and perform their audition for the panel of judges,” said Mark Mercer, director of choirs for Fairfield High School..

“This year, students will move their auditions to an online platform. Although the directors lose some of the interaction aspect with students, there are some positives to auditioning virtually.”

Though temporarily closed auditions are part of Ohio’s larger shutdown of all public and private K-12 school, there are a few advantages, said Mercer.

“Students are able to record their audition as many times as they like until they feel they have a representation of themselves that they are proud of. In addition, students can feel less nervous with auditioning in the comfort of their own home,” he said.

Despite the recent challenges presented by the COVID-19 virus, the school program continues to expand both its reputation and off-shoots into other choir groups.

“Just this past year, Choraliers were ranked ninth in the nation out of 2000-plus high school show choirs. And in the past three years, the program has added a high school men’s show choir known as the FortissiBROS and a middle school ladies’ show choir known as Little Elegance that are both one of less than 10 show choirs of their type in the country,” said Mercer.

Gina Gentry-Fletcher, Fairfield Schools spokeswoman, said the show choir’s innovative approach to auditions is indicative of the program’s popularity and ingenuity.

“Throughout this unprecedented and difficult time for all school districts, Fairfield staff members have risen to the challenge and are introducing creative ways to engage our students. We have been forced to adjust what we do in order to support the academic and creative needs of students,” said Gentry-Fletcher.

“And while the students can’t audition in person, this non-traditional method ensures that all students who want to try out, have the opportunity to do so.”

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