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With live performances on hold, local high school students work some Halloween magic

Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 2:40 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 30, 2020 at 11:47 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) – The Midway High School Fine Arts Department came up with a way to carry on with traditional Halloween performances without live audiences, putting the creativity of orchestra and theater students to work to move the productions online.

Both are now available on YouTube.

The Midway High School Orchestra performed the music for “Nosferatu,” an influential silent horror film released in 1929, and then synced up the music with the movie.

Orchestra Director Dr. Beau Benson used his custom-written score previously used in performances for the streaming video.

With the help of the school’s Theatre Department, the students produced an old-time radio play, “The Haunted Theater.”

“It’s been wonderful that we’ve been able to perform ‘Nosferatu,’ but these projects have mainly been about finding something fun for the kids to work toward during this time when giving a live performance is unfortunately is not viable due to the pandemic,” Benson said.

For three weeks, the orchestra and theater students worked to pull the production together.

Benson said four different classes involving the orchestra participated and moving the productions online gave the students a goal.

“Without a carrot at the end of the stick it can feel like you’re treading water,” he said.

“It was important to just have something to work toward. A tangible that they can pull up and watch and have something to show for their work.”

The work was done in part thanks to 150 members of the high school orchestra, from freshmen to seniors, as well as those who participate in theatre.

The equipment needed for the project was purchased with a $1,000 grant from the Midway ISD Education Foundation which allowed the group to purchase portable recording studios and sound stage technology, including an FM transmitter and receiver.

“They have been very excited about using the new technology to produce multimedia projects,” Benson said.

“They like having something they’ve done available to share on social media, and now family members out of town who usually couldn’t attend our concerts can hear their performances.”

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