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Luther College choir finds safe practice space inside empty pool during COVID-19 pandemic

When the group needed a socially distant venue to practice, the choir's conductor came across the perfectly acoustic spot.

DECORAH, Iowa — Luther College's Norskkor (Men's Choir) was in need of a new outdoor venue to hold their rehearsals to prevent COVID-19 and maintain social distance.

The Norskkor Men's Choir is made up of first year students, who are currently the only students on campus. Luther College is using a phased approach and hopes to bring upperclassmen back as the school year progresses.

For now, all eyes are on the first year students; especially Norskkor, who found a practice spot not at the Decorah Municipal Pool - but in it.

"I was driving past on College Drive and I looked over at the pool and realized "Oh my gosh, they are draining the pool this weekend", remembers Mark Potvin, Norskkor's Conductor who came up with the idea.

Potvin needed a space that would confine the group, but keep them spaced out to prevent any spread of coronavirus. The pool provides lane lines to social distance and each student wears a mask to stop any spread of COVID-19.

"Outdoors we get to practice for an hour, but indoors you are limited to half an hour," explains student Max Koeller. "Mr. Potvin said that I should bring someone with me to make the choir bigger and the incentive should be that we are singing in a pool and I was like "Oh!"."

Synchronized singing is what the 40 member strong Norskkor is known for.

"Just by having a little bit of lift in the sound, just by having a hard surface, there's something there," Potvin explains, pointing out the acoustics of the pool walls.

"It's really different, you really have to perfect your vowel shapes," comments student Tyler Buhr.

While singing in a pool is far from traditional, it's a way they can come together.  And it's proof to think outside the box, you might have to go in it.

Norskkor plans to practice in the pool the rest of the year, as long as weather and daylight allow.