I don’t believe that I’m being presumptuous in saying that we all REALLY miss singing together. It isn’t surprising that singers everywhere are turning to virtual chorus projects. What we all need is to feel more connected to each other during this pandemic, so throughout Harmony, Inc., chapters and quartets are engaging in virtual chorus projects.
Several projects have come to this writer’s attention including Jordan Travis’ InstaChoir’s amazing version of O, Canada! released on Canada Day and Bella Nova’s rendition of Come the Wild, Wild Weather, currently in production. Amanda Cornaglia, Bella Nova’s tech guru, said, “Bella Nova is working on a virtual version of Come the Wild, Wild Weather because we were missing singing together and both the lyrics and theme of the song are fitting for the times. Voluntary participation includes Bella Nova members (from at least three states) coming together virtually for education, fun, and fellowship.”
Two completed Area 5 projects, Scarborough Harmony Chorus’ Isn’t She Lovely (completed in June) and Sugartones’ Feelin’ Groovy (completed for Canada Day) can be found on their websites. Another project “in the works” is Northern Blend’s A Million Dreams.
Sugartones Director Jan-Åke Westin observed, “Although it is a big learning curve both for members recording for the first time at home (80 percent of the chorus chose to participate) and for the mixer/editor, all the effort is definitely worth it! The immense pride we felt watching our virtual finished product was mostly about the joy of singing and entertaining together again!
“Sugartones are born hams who love to do annual musical theatre shows and many community performances” continued Jan-Ake, “so this gave us an opportunity greet and entertain our community online, thank the town for their ongoing support, and get ourselves into the local media again. It was also an incentive to learn new songs and keep practicing. We learned lots, so next time will be easier!”
If you want to try a virtual project, recording can be done on whatever is handy (phone, Zoom, Mp3, video camera…). The tools used to mix/edit these projects include:
∙ Sugartones: Audacity (audio) and Corel Video Studio (video) by the son of a member
∙ Full Circle (MBHA): Vegas Movie Studio by a knowledgeable member
∙ Bella Nova: ProTools and Adobe Premiere Pro by a video production pro who is a chorus member — How fortunate is Bella Nova?
You might want to check out your internal resources, including family members before looking further afield for editing help!
Jan-Åke and Amanda both agree that support is necessary for some members to learn how to record at home. They also share that many members struggle with the sound of their own recorded solo voices, so we needed to learn not to take ourselves too seriously, not to aim for perfection, to reduce our stress, and above all, to have fun and ENJOY!
This writer found the virtual chorus experience very rewarding. It has brought my chorus closer to each other, and best of all, we got to sing “together” again! To raise all our spirits, please share links to your virtual accomplishments with us all. We do
love to cheer each other on — even from home!
Submitted by Judy Breckles
EDITOR’S NOTE: Sugartones’ Judy Breckles debuts as a new staff writer for our new HI Note with this article. Judy was so incautious as to respond a couple of months ago to the standing query at the bottom of this newsletter, “What would you like to read about in the [then] E- Note?” Having determined what she wanted to see, we invited her to write the story. (Evil, we are.) And she did! Along with Director of Communications Mary Ann Wert, I’d like to offer a great big WELCOME to Judy as a staff writer for the HI Note! We are looking forward to reading her future articles.