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.

Lehmans

Knight Foundation

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

Three exonerated of murder convictions from 18 years ago
Thanks heavens that none of them have been condemned to death. This alons should convince the USA to join the civilized world by abolishing the death penalty. E...

Kombucha: a sweet business brewed with fermented tea
Stevia is not an artificial sweetener. It is a plant. I have one growing in my sunroom. The leaves are dried and added to teas. It's harvested commercially and...

Bringing back ballet in Cleveland
I do think Ballet in Cleveland is doing good things, but the fact that director says "When we have flourishing companies like the New York City Ballet and the A...

Report confirms some Vietnam veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange
was in nam 1969 exposed va stated lost medical records was in lawsuit from 197? till settled 0 $ 2010 ? said all nam vets will get back disability till 198? jus...

Mentorship grant program redefines "faith-based" provision
Can't anyone have values, beliefs, and morals anymore? How is it anymore unconstitutional for a school partner with a "faith-based" organization than any other ...

Exploradio: The challenge of finding a healthy balance with technology
Thank you, Jeff, for another well done Exploradio. I always learn something interesting about what is happening in NE Ohio.

Northeast Ohio's transgender community rallies around restroom issue
A good first step would be for Cleveland to require restaurants to have a public restroom. Cleveland is the only city I've ever been in where restaurants somet...

Vapor shops say tobacco tax hikes could hit them hard
Maybe you should be DOING a study, since every time you've tried to villianize them all that's happened was the opposite. I'm not a fan of alcohol that's flavor...

New law gives access to birth records to Ohio adoptees
Can siblings also look for their missing brother or sister? And how do we go about it?

Ida McKinley's tiara comes home, with the help of "Pawn Stars"
I donated to the fund to keep the tiara at the museum where I believe it belongs. I took my 16 year old granddaughter to the showing I dont think it will be som...

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