News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Greater Akron Chamber

Meaden & Moore

Levin Furniture


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Education


Ohio may have the only on-line-school choir in the state
A thin technical connection makes a much bigger connection
by WKSU's MOLLY BLOOM


Reporter
Molly Bloom
 
OHDELA chorus members practice in a conference room at the school's Akron headquarters.
Courtesy of MOLLY BLOOM
Download (WKSU Only)

One of Ohio’s oldest online schools, the Ohio Distance and Electronic Learning Academy, or OHDELA , has added an unusual offering to its course lineup: Chorus. Usually, OHDELA students log on from their homes across the state to learn English, science, math or other subjects. But now they’re learning how to sing, and how to sing together -- even when they’re only joined by an internet connection. StateImpact Ohio’s Molly Bloom explains.

BLOOM: On-line chorus line

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:38)


(Click image for larger view.)

Diana Newlon sits on her living room couch leading chorus practice.

With her laptop balanced on one arm of the sofa, she looks at a screen full of videos of girls singing Jingle Bell Rock. Each girl is in her own little square, arranged Brady-Bunch credits style on the screen.

Newlon teaches at the Ohio Distance and Electronic Learning Academy, OHDELA for short. And she’s the founder of perhaps the only all-online school chorus in the state, or even the nation.

Newlon’s boss, the principal of OHDELA, thought she was crazy when she suggested starting a school chorus last year. OHDELA students live all over Ohio, and take classes entirely online.

Newlon says her boss asked her, “Well, how could you do that?” He told her he didn’t think anyone would come.

He was wrong. 

Even with little publicity for the chorus, nearly 20 students enrolled this year. They practice online through group video sessions twice a week. Plus they have in-person practices at least once a quarter.

Instead of lining up on risers, they use a video-chat program for the online practices.

“They’re there with their bed hair and their pajamas, sitting on their bed sometimes, so they can just [sing] wherever they’re at,” Newlon says.

It’s not perfect. Sometimes the sound cuts out or lags.

'Awesome teacher'
But a school chorus taught mostly online? Can that even work?

“I feel so,” says Erika Blon. “Because Ms. Newlon is an awesome teacher… She’s there to instruct us and if we have a problem she is right there to say ‘Ok, well say if you have problem with this listen to how I do it.’”

Blon is a senior at OHDELA and a leader of the 20-girl chorus. And yes, it is all girls, for now. The chorus is open to all OHDELA students, but the girls say no guys have had the courage to stick with it for any length of time.

“We had a guy last year. Poor guy. Poor thing,” Blon says.

Recently the chorus held one of its in-person practices at OHDELA’s headquarters in a downtown Akron office tower.

'Would they accept me?"
Afterwards, as the chorus members got ready to leave, I talked with OHDELA student Hannah Fulks. Hannah has cerebral palsy and her voice sometimes wavers.

But Hannah loves to sing. She wonders whether she’d be welcomed in a “regular” school chorus.

“Would they accept me or not?” Fulks asks. I’m not sure. These girls all accept me like I’m just another girl, but at regular school I’m not sure if they would be this nice.”

The chorus’s will perform a holiday concert in Akron on Saturday in front of a live audience.

There will be elf hats and Santa costumes and a teacher dressed as the Grinch. Girls who have practiced Jingle Bell Rock and Oh Holy Night via video chat will sing together on stage.

“Other people will get to see what a online school can do… without being together like every day,” Fulk says

 

Listener Comments:

That was so Awsome! :D


Posted by: Natalie White (Norton) on December 19, 2012 3:12AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Marijuana referendum may change more than pot's legal status in Ohio
If our representatives would act in accordance with the will of the people things like this wouldn't happen. They dragged their feet and blocked discussion on t...

Ohio's attorney general rejectsthe latest proposal to legalize marijuana
i think the ag launguage is money hes talking about drug companies must pay him more than responsible ohio can

PBS documentary chronicles the fall of Saigon through new footage and stories
Hi, Does anyone know the number - in the pbs special "Last Days of Vietnam" documentary, of how many Vietnamese were evacuated? Please e-mail me the answer. T...

Protest planned at tomorrow's FirstEnergy meeting
The problems of the poor and downtrodden have nothing to do with First Energy. They are the result of Republican legislators who consistently reduce taxes on th...

Ohio bill would help smaller communities with LGBT discrimination laws
Do we not try and have rights for all individuals equally? On the HUD list of "preferred" candidates who get "special consideration" it states that: For purp...

Ohio likely will continue with two types of police academies
Wake up people your wanting a Harvard law school education for a job that may pay a little over the poverty level. I don't know anyone who could support a wife ...

Police Week's ties from NE Ohio to D.C.
The men and women in blue who risk their lives everyday to serve and protect us....and this is as much recognition and appreciation that NPR/WKSU feels to offer...

First in a Series: How charter schools got a foothold in Ohio
If the interest where in education and there would be oversight of taxpayer dollars, charter schools would be okay. However, Charter School in Ohio are purely f...

Near West Theater raises the curtain at its new home with 'Shrek the Musical'
When I heard you were doing an article about the Near West Theater, I was very excited, because I had seen the lobby artwork in process on the floor of the arti...

Northeast Ohio pastors want to talk reform with Akron-based FirstEnergy
It's great that this First Energy bailout request is getting media coverage. First Energy is asking to be allowed to NOT find the best costing energy to sell us...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University