Lake Ripley Elementary School students performed in their first concert of the school year Friday.

With COVID-19 precautions making an indoor concert difficult to pull off, school administration and teachers decided to take students' outside to the soccer field on the west side of the school.

"The initial plan was to keep it virtual, but it was obvious the parents were craving the opportunity to watch and support their child," music teacher Abby Molitor said. "The outdoor venue provided a situation for the parents to attend and for the students to step out of their comfort zone and sing in front of a live audience."

The weather cooperated. As sun shone brightly, parents and other family members gathered in a cordoned off area to enjoy the performances. Each grade level had its own concert, with fourth-graders performing starting at 8:45 a.m. and other grades following throughout the day.

Students lined up in neat rows, spaced at acceptable social distance intervals and wearing their masks. 

Molitor introduced the songs, giving a brief explanation of the music and the theory or skills that the music was intended to develop.

"At the elementary age, students need a tangible audience in front of them to get the full effect of a concert and what it truly means to perform," Molitor said. "I was nervous about the sound quality and being able to hear the students against the wind and traffic, but at the end of the day that was all a minor issue. The students sang out and did an incredible job.

"I was also impressed with the crowd participation and willingness to sing along and participate with body percussion with the third grade class or rock, paper, scissor, shoot against the fourth grade class," she added. "Overall, it was a success and an unforgettable experience."