Engaging. Positivity. Connection.

These are three words that describe what Northern Blend has been providing throughout this challenging time. Remember back in January 2020? Northern Blend Chorus had just completed a very successful guest event that produced seven new additions to our chorus family! While getting prepared for our Area 3 AC&C in May, we were learning new music, practicing choreography, and sharpening our skills through coaching. AND THEN…SILENCE!

The pandemic struck with such a fury that it took our breaths and our harmonies away; however, it could not take away our spirit. So immediately, we got to work to find new and resourceful ways to stay together while keeping a safe distance apart.

Our leadership quickly started brainstorming to identify ways that we could stay engaged in a virtual setting. We created a Zoom room and continued to meet weekly. Our director, Katie Taylor, offered Private Voice Lessons (PVIs) and gave music theory courses, as well as coordinated with “celebrity” guests to engage us in different warm-up techniques to keep up vocally healthy and immersed. She also spearheaded a video of A Million Dreams using all our members to share with the healthcare workers in
our area to thank them for being heroes. It was posted on YouTube and was received with love and joy.

To help us stay connected, as President, I write weekly Promulgations that discuss mental health, staying positive, overcoming anxiety, quarantine challenges, Zoom fatigue, and other pertinent issues that we may be facing with this “new normal”. I have also created a weekly talk show titled Choruses in Quarantine Connecting over Coffee. This is a recorded video interview between myself and another chorus member that is shared with the rest of NBC to help us all get to know one another. So far there
are 28 episodes including both seasoned and new members that are welcomed with excitement, laughter and a few happy tears. It has become a weekend “gotta see” for most of us.

Lastly, we were not going to let this infection interrupt our incredible installation. Like the Publisher’s Clearinghouse winners, the Vice-president, Laura Oakes and I, set out on a journey to safely deliver twenty-one envelopes that included member award nominations, new-membership pins, member anniversary pins, and the Barbershopper of the Year award around Northern New York. It was a blast to throw confetti and present everyone with their awards, as well as, see smiling faces that we had missed
for so many weeks. We took safety precautions and handled it with the greatest of care. But it was well worth it.

Although we couldn’t be together physically, that following Monday we had a virtual installation that will be remembered for years to come. Video of the deliveries were beautifully patch worked together by Katie and really increased the celebratory energies. Donna McKay, the Harmony, Inc. International President came in for a bit and addressed us with love. Katie also created a compilation of our past year together, we participated in games, sang songs and celebrated being 35 Years of US!
Northern Blend Chorus is always up to something. We refuse to let this pandemic destroy our spirit and our connection with one another. We are continuing to look for new and creative ways to stay engaged and connected in the most positive way. We know that we’ve always been Harmony Strong, but this will only make us Harmony Stronger!

Submitted by Taralee Lashway
Northern Blend Chapter President