It is going to look a little different this year – but Cane Bay High choir students all seem to agree that this year’s Madrigal Dinner is going to be one to remember.
The Madrigal Dinners in the past were a Renaissance-themed dinner show held at Cane Bay High and featured the school’s award-winning choir students. This annual event has been known for kicking off the holiday season at Cane Bay High, and has been going on for more than 10 years.
With the ongoing pandemic, the choir has opted to instead feature their performance in a video that will be livestreamed for a standalone event on Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. The show will also be available for a 48-hour rental from Dec. 19 to Jan. 3. Tickets are $25 and are available on the Cane Bay Choirs website.
The students work under the direction of William Bennett, director of choirs at Cane Bay High.
“I could not be more proud of a group of students honestly,” Bennett said. “It was a long process with lots of regulations as far as wearing masks and staying separated and we couldn’t do a lot of the normal things we do in the show, but the kids really, really rose to the challenge.”
This year’s play is called “Billie and Theodora’s Shakespearean Adventure”. The character Theodora has a report due for her English class and has to travel back in time to find Hamlet for an interview, but gets stuck in a bunch of other William Shakespeare plays.
This year’s performance includes 12th-grader Robert Bare, who plays the King; 12th-grader Mariann Fisher, who plays Elizabeth and co-wrote the script; 12th-grader Lilie Kyger, who also co-wrote the script; 12th-grader Anna Brown, who plays the Queen; 12th-grader J’ylen Johnson, who plays “Billie”; and 11th-grader Mikaela Haught, who plays Theodora.
Kyger and Fisher started on the script before the shutdown in March. They had “rough cut” ideas of what they wanted to do, and a way they wanted it played out in person. When they found they could record the performance on a virtual platform, they were able to rework everything to make it work.
“I wanted to keep the tradition alive and I still wanted to be able to give families…the show that they love so much, in whatever platform,” Kyger said.
They were even able to work the pandemic into the script; the characters from the present travel back in time donning masks, and a courtier in the Shakespearean era remarks, “Oh, you have your plague masks on.”
Bare, a seasoned veteran with chorus and Madrigals, said while creating the performance was still very similar, this year’s experience showed a notable difference between making a video versus performing multiple nights in a row.
Getting near the end of the third and final night of Madrigals is usually when reality sets in for the seniors that this is their last time doing Madrigals together, and it can be an emotional event.
“The seniors specifically are bawling their eyes out, because it’s like, ‘this is the end,’ and that didn’t happen this year,” Bare said. “When we did the end, we did not even realize at that point that it was the end, so I’d say that was the biggest difference.
“I still think it’s going to be a great show,” he added. “It turned out really great, I think.”
The choir sings songs throughout the evening. Bare said there will be some familiar pieces as well as some new ones.
In previous years, the students would serve their families dinner during the show. Brown, who has also been part of Madrigals for years, said she noticed how students did not get the opportunity to joke around and serve their families this time around.
“There’s lots of pros and cons,” she said. “It was good to see everyone come together in the choir to…get this one thing done that we needed to get done to make it presentable for the audience.”
Johnson said with the video, they got to take on a different type of acting. While everyone was looking forward to performing in front of a live audience, performing for the video brought a new twist to the event.
“I think it will definitely be positive, because I think we did do really good and I think that…everybody who recorded us definitely knew what they were doing. It was really interesting,” he said.
Haught is brand new to Cane Bay High this year after moving from Florida. She is also involved in drama at Cane Bay and said she enjoyed being a part of a choir doing a drama-centered show.
“It showcases that all of us are very multi-talented, we can adapt well to things we are doing and projects that we’re working on,” she said. “I’m really excited for people to see it.”
All the students agree the experience made them a stronger choir (and stronger friends), and that despite the added challenge of the pandemic this year’s Madrigal Dinners will be one they remember.
“I’ve gotten closer with a lot more people, especially outside of school,” Fisher said, adding, “It feels a lot easier to talk to people because you’re like, ‘oh yeah, they’re going through this right now too. They understand.’”
Johnson echoed similar thoughts about how they’ve created a close bond.
“It’s honestly going to be a very memorable experience, both short term and long term,” he said.
As the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) works to track cases of COVID-19 across the state, there is an understandable delay in reporting confirmed cases in public schools. Berkeley County School District is committed to providing stakeholders with accurate and timely information so the BCSD COVID-19 Case Dashboard has been updated to reflect the number of confirmed cases reported directly to Berkeley County School District. These numbers will be updated every business day to provide our community with a more accurate accounting of confirmed cases in Berkeley County schools.
The content of this database is general information for each location. Any necessary contact tracing is conducted by SCDHEC. This information is updated at the close of each business day. Please note the numbers provided are numbers of confirmed cases reported to the Berkeley County School District and are 14-day cumulative counts.
At the regular meeting of the Board of Education on Tuesday, October 27, the Board approved revisions to the Berkeley County School District (BCSD) instructional calendar to add four half-day virtual instructional program (VIP) days for students. Teachers will use the second half of those four days as workdays.
On these VIP days, students will be learning from home independently for half of the day. All student assignments will be loaded to Google Classroom and/or other learning management systems by 7 a.m.
BCSD half-day VIP/teacher workdays
- Thursday, November 12, 2020
- Monday, December 7, 2020
- Tuesday, December 22, 2020
- Monday, May 10, 2021
To further support students, each teacher will set office hours that are posted or will be posted in Google Classroom and/or other learning management systems.
Much like the eLearning days of the 2019-20 school year, teachers will have the flexibility to use time not spent assisting students to work in their classrooms, with their teams or participate in personal professional development.
Again, this is a remote learning day, and all students will be learning from home independently.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your child's school.
BCSD photo / Monica Kreber
Entering Cane Bay High on Friday morning, students did the mandatory temperature checks before walking through the doors.
However, they did not go in empty-handed, as Student Council students greeted them with glow sticks for the “Glow Night”-themed football game later on that day.
“Glow Night” was one of the ongoing themed days Student Council students organized to keep encouraging school spirit at Cane Bay High. Students were given glow sticks to not only wear at school but bring with them to Friday night’s varsity football game against Stratford High, which was the team’s first home game of the school year.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, Senior Ellie Huot, Student Body President, said she thinks students are getting more into the Spirit Days this year.
“We’re having a lot more students participate in the dress-up days, and a lot more kids that are showing up to the football games,” she said.
Math teacher Laura McSwain serves as the School Council’s advisor. She said spirit is something that Student Council and the Renaissance Club at Cane Bay High work to promote together.
“The students have definitely put more energy into school spirit this year because we all know that this is a stressful time for everyone,” she said.
While school spirit looks different this year, senior Aniya Nelson, Student Body Vice President, said they still have to push more of it; they try to get their classmates excited for these dress-up days and get them excited about sporting events.
“I definitely think this year it will make a rise in our school,” she said.
Nelson said they still wanted the atmosphere to feel like school – especially for the seniors, and particularly for blended distance learning (BDL) students.
Student Council members are hopeful that eventually they will be able to resume events like pep rallies and school dances.
“It’s not the same as previous years where we can do all these things but…we want you to feel like we care about you,” Nelson said.
Students had to come up with alternative ways to get excited about sports because it is now harder for students to go to away games. They are still planning themed dress-up days for the away games at school; Student Council tested the waters on Sept. 25 with an animal print day.
In October they are planning a “Pink Out” day for breast cancer awareness, and are later planning a Hawaiian-themed day, plus “blackout” attire for Senior Night on Oct. 23 with a home game against Berkeley High.
McSwain said Student Council members have been very happy with how receptive the student body has been with the efforts.
“We feel that we really saw improvements in school spirit last year and were concerned that all efforts would be diminished this year,” she said. “However, what we have seen so far is that a lot of students are looking for a sense of normalcy and comradery and Student Council is happy to provide that.”
The council also wanted to find ways that would incorporate the blended distance learning (BDL) students. They have pitched the Spirit Days to the BDL students and continue to encourage them to virtually submit and post photos of themselves in their spirit gear.
Senior Hadley Terry, publicity chair for student council, has worked to make graphics for the dress-up days in order to garner interest. In addition to posters around the school, the graphics go up online to alert BDL students.
Terry said council is trying to make the most of what the year still has to offer: there is still a student section in the football stadium where students can cheer during the games; the school is still allowing students to run for Homecoming Court; and students are still encouraged to get involved at school.
“I think we’re focusing on what we can do,” she said.
McSwain said she thinks they found an opportunity to increase school spirit through the pandemic.
“We are all going through the pandemic together and I believe that if we continue our efforts we will see a Cane Bay student body united in school spirit,” she said. “This can be pivotal once blended students reintegrate back into the traditional classroom environment.”
McSwain also said her students have done a great job rising to the added challenges.
“I am so privileged to have such an amazing group of kids,” she said. “They started back on day one excited about a new school year despite the circumstances.”
About 85 percent of textile waste ends up in landfills where it occupies unnecessary landfill space.
These were textiles that had the opportunity to be recycled but were not.
The reason they do not get recycled is because of a lack of a convenient place to donate textiles.
Residents might notice bright green bins on the property of some schools in Berkeley County School District, provided by a franchise called Clothes Bins, where families can actually recycle old textiles.
The result is threefold with Clothes Bins: textiles get reused as inventory at local businesses, the recycling efforts actually raise money for BCSD schools, and the overall initiative produces a greener option for what residents can do with old clothes.
Textiles include clothing, outerwear, footwear, undergarments, accessories, handbags and linens – these are all things that can go into the bins.
Chad Boariu, director of marketing and training for Clothes Bin, said the franchise is the first clothing/textile recycling franchise in the nation.
The bins are unlike anything else out there. They are equipped with sensory technology inside the bins that alerts Clothes Bins when they are about to be filled up and need servicing – very similar to a vending machine, he said. This technology is called BLIP – Bin Location Information Program – which monitors each bin and alerts the franchisee whenever a bin approaches its capacity and needs to be serviced.
Clothes Bins is in about 15 states, and there are individual schools as well as full districts that have contracted a bin.
BCSD schools with a bin receive multiple benefits: one is it shows the district believes in a green program, and another is individual schools being able to show the overall impact of recycling as a whole.
“You are able to show how you give back to the community,” Boariu said.
Boariu said Clothes Bins’s biggest takeaway is just from the landfill – “we’re trying to make that smaller,” he said.
The schools get paid per pound of everything recycled in the bin, and that is where the fundraising comes in; they receive seven cents per pound that goes back into the school. The bins can hold 600 pounds, so a school could potentially make about $42 every time the bin reaches capacity.
Schools use the money for different items; some of the money is used as “cushion” money while others may go toward the school’s PTO (see the full list of schools with a bin below).
The clothes provided into the Clothes Bins go on to provide inventory for local thrift stores – which is where the recycling part comes in.
“Our biggest thing is there’s always another use,” Boariu said. “Once it goes into a landfill, that’s it.”
Many of BCSD’s schools fall into the territory of Mary Anna Lewis, owner of Lowcountry Textile Recycling. A majority of the schools within the territory were offered a bin, and the first set of bins were set up in May 2019.
Lewis stressed that these clothes are recycled to help local businesses.
“It’s recycling. It’s (being) stewards of the community, it’s fundraising for the schools,” she said.
Boariu and Lewis said they are not discouraging residents from donating used clothes to charities of their choice, but the Clothes Bins model is one that results in a direct effect on the students and administration in that particular school.
A lot of the clothes collected also go to impoverished areas of other countries, like the Dominican Republican and Uganda, where locals can sell the items in their own markets.
“It’s going to third-world countries to marketplace vendors who are feeding their families off of reselling this stuff,” Lewis said.
Clothes Bins has also previously gone into schools to promote the educational aspect of it to students, to show them how they can create business partnerships to help the earth and also provide jobs for families.
BCSD schools use the funds they receive for different items. Hanahan High Principal Tom Gallus said his school puts it in its miscellaneous activity account and use it for supplies for staff and students.
“If there is a student in need, we will use this account to supply them with supplies,” he said.
Whitesville Elementary Principal Katie Taie said her school has been very happy with Clothes Bins. The school uses the funds to supplement field trip costs for parents, and for providing arts performances and enrichment activities for students. The PTO receives the funds and then provides financial support for those experiences.
Whitesville reminds parents through social media and Blackboard to “clean out” their closets when school administration notices upcoming teacher requests.
“Clothes Bin has benefited our school the most by allowing us to decrease the amount of money that we ask parents to spend for additional activities,” Taie said. “Over the past couple of years, we saw a substantial increase in the cost of buses for field experiences and needed to find a way to supplement that burden for our parents.”
Sangaree Elementary Principal Tara Baker said the school has raised a little less than $100 and all funds right now are in the school’s business partner account. She plans to put out a blurb to remind families to provide textiles if they can.
“We would love to raise more (money) to purchase additional personalized learning materials,” she said.
Schools with a bin
Boulder Bluff Elementary
Bowens Corner Elementary
Cane Bay Elementary
Cane Bay High
Cane Bay Middle
College Park Elementary
College Park Middle
Goose Creek Elementary
Goose Creek High
Philip Simmons Elementary
Philip Simmons High
Philip Simmons Middle
The purpose of this site is to share information for parents to understand the different technologies being used for instruction as well as provide tips for troubleshooting when tech challenges arise.