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Southwest Orange Thursday, May 14, 2020 1 month ago

Influencer of the Week: Shannon Robinson, Windermere Preparatory School

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Shannon Robinson is the co-director of the Little Laker Voices choir and coordinated their virtual performance of "Lean On Me."
by: Danielle Hendrix Associate Editor

Shannon Robinson has served as a vocal instructor at Windermere Prep for years now, and she recently took on a large project as co-director of the Little Laker Voices choir. She and her husband coordinated and produced a virtual performance of “Lean On Me” using recordings from all 19 choir students. Robinson hopes it’s a memory her students will carry with them for life. You can view the video by clicking here

 

What do you love most about your school?

I love working with the children and watching them grow as singers and as people. I also work among very talented people, and I find that to be incredibly inspiring. Windermere Prep offers so many ways children can grow, and the access to knowledgeable teachers is abundant.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

Every year starts with somewhat of a blank slate other than the basic outlined curriculum. It’s hard to know exactly how the year will shape up, but it’s always amazing and incredibly rewarding. I love working with the students and seeing how far they will grow musically by the end of the year. This year was certainly no different. The challenges our world has faced — and is still facing — is a fine example of what I mean. Everyone — teachers and students alike — rose to the challenge to continue school virtually, and I was determined to finish the year with the choir, as well, so it made perfect sense to have a virtual choir.

How did the “Lean On Me” video come together?

Since everyone has been told to stay home, I knew the only way to make this happen was to have all my choir members record themselves, and I would figure out how to put it together later. My husband, Colin Robinson — who also teaches at Windermere Prep — is a great audio engineer, and we have a Pro Tools studio at home. We got together and he recorded the music and did
the audio production for "Lean On Me," and I sent the song to all of my choir students. I worked with them and chose which group would sing the main melody, which group would split off into harmonies, and a third group to go between singing and “ooohs” to fill out the choral section in the middle and end. When they were ready, they sang along to the track we provided with ear pods or headphones so that the video only recorded their voices. Colin then took the audio from the videos and put them together to the music, and the choir was suddenly back together, at least sonically. Then, finally, he took the 19 separate videos and put them in the video program he uses to bring them all together visually. Since everyone sang along to the same track, it was just a matter of lining up the videos together. It was quite the process, but Iʼm so happy with how it turned out, and everyone can have this memory for the rest of their lives, as well. Iʼm so proud of my Little Lakers!

Why did Little Laker Voices choose to sing “Lean On Me”?

Facing our current global situation, when I realized I wanted to create a virtual choir, I decided to use a song of hope and to send out a positive message. I chose Bill Withers’ song “Lean On Me,” because it really spoke to me. During the planning of this song, Bill Withers unfortunately passed away, so it unexpectedly became a message of hope alongside paying homage to an incredible songwriter.

What motivates you and pushes you to do your best?

I've always been driven to be better, and being around other talented people helps me to be constantly inspired. Iʼm motivated by positivity, talent and othersʼ desire to grow, as well.

What's the nicest thing a student or faculty member has done for you?

I'm constantly inspired by every student in some way. To see their commitment, talents and hard work always fills me with joy. Of course, the talented faculty members inspire me, and the ways I've grown just from having conversations with them has been invaluable. Our fine arts director, Jason King, has done so much for me to give me the opportunity to work with these children, and to co-direct the Little Laker Voices alongside Emily Tousek has been an unparalleled experience. I would like to take this opportunity to
thank Mr. King and Ms. Tousek for all they have done and all that I have learned from them. Thank you to everyone else at Windermere Prep, also, for being incredible people.

Who would you say is your biggest inspiration and why?

It's hard to nail it down because I find inspiration everywhere. It could be a well-directed movie, an album that takes me back to my youth and everything in between. I have musical inspiration anywhere from Jimi Hendrix to Beethoven. I'm inspired by my family at home and my family at Windermere Prep. Generally speaking, positivity is contagious, and I like being around positive people in as many parts of my life as possible.

Danielle Hendrix is the Associate Editor for the West Orange Times & Observer and the Windermere Observer. She is a 2015 graduate of the University of Central Florida, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in journalism with a minor in world comparative studies. ...

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