Creative Community Singing Outlets in the Face of COVID-19

*See also: Choral broadcasts sprouting up in the face of COVID-19.

The heartache from canceled performances and lost rehearsal nights due to the COVID-19 pandemic is palpable. It's another reason why the creative virtual events that are springing to life in the choral community have brought so much joy and meaning. These inventive gatherings are giving singers an outlet and a reason to smile in a time when they could really use some good news. Here are some that we've seen so far.

Virtual Rehearsals

Many directors are experimenting with virtual rehearsals for the first time - and not just to maintain musical progress. Continuing rehearsals are serving many purposes, including sometimes simply providing an opportunity for choristers to see and talk to each other. If you're interested in exploring rehearsing virtually with your chorus, check Chorus Connection's blog post on virtual rehearsals.

Sister Cities Girlchoir Daily Noonday Community Sings

An El Sistema-inspired program serving girls in three states, Sister Cities Girlchoir launched a daily sing-along - 15 minutes, 3 songs, every day at noon for a week. The playlist for the day is posted in advance. Sing-alongs are hosted on Zoom so that singers can see each other (but not hear each other - no one has figured out simultaneous virtual singing from different locations just yet). "Singing required. Dancing is optional. Joy abounds." Instruments are also encouraged.

Catch their final sing-along of the week Friday at noon!

Choir! Choir! Choir! - "Choir!ntine Social Distan-Sing-Along"

With just two guys, a guitar, and a few well-known songs, Choir! Choir! Choir! has developed a following of thousands through hosting live mass choir events in their hometown Toronto and around the globe. With their in-person events presenting a bit of a challenge, they are shifting to mass virtual sing-alongs on Facebook Live. The duo kicked things off with an event on Tuesday night, and are hosting another Saturday afternoon event to be more convenient for European participants.

Jake Runestad Bridge of Song Sing-Along

Composer Jake Runestad's virtual sing-along was a family affair. Along with his sister and brother-in-law, Jake's one-year-old nephew, Ollie was a featured guest. The Runestad crew sang through a wide range of family and popular songs with Jake on piano. This event has passed, but you can still view it on Jake's Facebook page.

The Great British Home Chorus 

Across the pond, choirmaster Gareth Malone announced a new sustained initiative, The Great British Home Chorus, to bring together both amateur and professional singers in song during the coronavirus outbreak. Malone's program will continue over several weeks, and he plans to help individuals who aren't tech-savvy learn how to participate in online communities. Those interested simply sign up for the program online.

Jim Papoulis Youth Chorus Songwriting Workshop

Composer and conductor Jim Papoulis is bringing youth from grades 6-12 together for an online workshop on songwriting on Thursday, March 26. Young participants will discuss what they're going through, with the aim of writing a song that speaks to this moment that we're all in by the end of the workshop. Space is limited, so interested folks should see Jim's post for more information.

The Return of Virtual Choir

In 2010, Eric Whitacre spawned Virtual Choir, an unheard-of crowdsourcing of individual singers from around the globe to create a unified online choral performance. With singers unable to gather in one place, the virtual choir is moving to local communities and schools. One of the first of perhaps many videos to come is the West Aurora (IL) Madrigal Singers singing Stephen Paulus' The Road Home.

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