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LBK Chorale produces "My Fair Lady" with a Chinese twist

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Kaysie Ellingson
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In March, before Lubbock saw its first case of COVID-19, Jordan Siebrecht was moving to China, on the other side of the world.
 

He documented his journey through the airport on his Instagram stories. Airport staff wear biohazard gear, checking temperatures. Jordan and a group of passengers are herded through the airport, onto buses. The group is slowly broken apart until Jordan is alone in a shack—among a row of isolated shacks—waiting for a ride to his final destination: Quzhou.

“Ok guys, I’m at my hotel room,” he said. “This is my home for the next 14 days.” Upon arriving, Jordan was immediately brought to a hotel room for quarantine. Three times a day and small woman covered in protective gear wheeled a metal cart down the halls. She distributed bags of food for quarantine guests.

Jordan didn’t know how many fellow travelers occupied the hotel rooms, but he reported that her cart was always full. His temperature was taken twice a day. If he opened his door, an alarm would sound.

Jordan is a graduate of Texas Tech and a member of the Lubbock Chorale. He was slated to play Alfred Doolittle in the Chorale’s production of My Fair Lady for their annual Gala. When the virus hit the United States, it became clear that everything would shut down. The Gala was postponed. Jordan took a leap of faith.

“I never thought I’d move to China. I never had the desire,” he said. But when the job opened up and his paycheck at McDonalds wasn’t affording him what he needed for auditions as a musician, he made his move.

The pandemic may have halted Jordan’s ability to perform in person, but it created a chance for him to be in two places at once.

“We have gone now to the first ever virtual Lubbock chorale,” said John Hollins, who is the artistic director of the Lubbock Chorale. “Jordan is in China. He’s joining us from thousands of miles, from the other side of the world.”

The Chorale’s annual Gala funds student scholarships. After it was postponed in March, the group decided to give ticketholders both an in-person and a virtual experience. On October 22, supporters from around Lubbock gathered at the English Newsom Cellars.

Attendees wore dresses and ties. Dinner was catered and performances of My Fair Lady hits teased the full virtual production. For a moment life felt normal.

While supporters wined and dined, Anh Collins was home editing video. She’s the Chorale’s business administrator who overnight became the group’s video editor. “Working on one video is incredibly different than working on a 45-minute concert,” she said.

Which is what she’s done. With dozens of chorale members, five soloists and countless tracks of audio and video, Collins has dedicated nearly 100 hours to the production.

Her duties ranged from walking chorale members through the recording process—many of which were hesitant to partake—to syncing tracks for editing. All the while, looping in their overseas guest—Jordan—all the way from China.

“I love Jordan he’s down for anything. I was happy to know I would be working with him,” Collins said.

“They were trying to keep the theme 1920s the era,” Jordan said. “But I had to email Anh and tell her that it’s kind of impossible for me to do that.”

Together, the two brainstormed how he could get creative in an entirely new country. They decided to fully embrace the Chinese backdrop.

The final piece showcases a mashup of Jordan dancing and singing around different locations, dressed in a 1920s suite, singing With a Little Bit of Luck. You can see Chinese kids walking around in the background.

Jordan says he misses performing live, but has loved learning to record himself. And With their new skillset, the Lubbock Chorale is gearing up for their next virtual production: the annual holiday show.

Have a news tip? Email Kaysie Ellingson at kaysie.ellingson@ttu.edu. Follow her reporting on Twitter @KaysieEllingson.

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