A year has passed since the first horrifying news that choir practice was cancelled, “for a few weeks”. Months later, live choirs are still muted. But thanks to the wonder of technology, thousands of people worldwide are enjoying the benefits of singing with choirs online.
Imagine if the pandemic had hit 20 years ago. The message to “Stay at Home” would have meant our only contact with friends and family was by snail mail and landline. We would all be clamouring to catch up with friends after 6 pm to keep the bills down, and the family arguments for the one phone would be biblical!
Instead, not only can we stream into friends’ and family’s homes via live video link, but to school, work, and choir. Sometimes it seems like the stuff of old science fiction movies.
Of course, we’re missing our post-rehearsal drinks with our long time choir buddies. And we all want to get back in the choir stalls soon. But we’re here with some silly reasons why virtual choir practice is actually better than the real thing!
1. You get a clear view of the conductor
You’re normally sat at the back of the alto section, and spend most of the rehearsal hopping from foot to foot to try and see the conductor. No matter where you stand you always end up behind that tall soprano who gets to rehearsal early and bags the prime spot. Now everyone gets a front-row seat!
2. There are more cats (and who doesn’t want more cats at choir practice?)
We love cats. Cats love an audience (or at least getting in the way of webcams). It’s a match made in heaven. In Stay at Home Choir rehearsals, we have been known to stop rehearsal to coo over a cat.
Also, there’s a little bit in all of us that loves it when someone attempting to appear professional is foiled by their cat stealing the show. It reminds us that we’re in this together, juggling a mass of demands, all just showing up to do our best in this crazy time. Most importantly though, it makes us laugh. And we all need a bit of that right now.
3. There’s no chatter
You can focus on the music much better when your section neighbour isn’t whispering in your ear about all the awful things their husband did this week. Or their mother-in-law. Or the dog. This lack of distraction comes in very handy when you’re trying to nail that impossibly difficult rhythm in bar 54.
4. You can hear yourself better
You’ve always struggled to hear if you’re singing your note in tune against the tenors during that close harmony chord in your favourite piece. You’ve tried everything – cupping your ear, singing louder, pleading with them to sing quieter – but it’s no good! (Sorry tenors, we love you really!). Well, now you can finally hear yourself and savour the scrunch!
5. You can pick your own snacks
In virtual choir practice, you get to pick the break time snacks… AND eat as many as you like! No getting back from the long queue for the bathroom only to find all the cookies have gone. Or staring longingly at the last Jaffa Cake, not wanting to be ‘that guy’ who eats the last one!
6. You don’t have to miss out when you’re sick
A cold might stop you from going along to a live choir practice, but it won’t stop you from tuning in online and learning your part…
All this and we haven’t even mentioned the unique bonuses you get as a member of the Stay at Home Choir. Make friends with other singers from around the world. Get to meet and sing with your musical heroes. And make an album with some of the biggest names in the music world! Intrigued? Find out how you can join a project.
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Whether you’re feeling the screen strain, or you just want to make sure it doesn’t rear its ugly head – follow these simple steps to make sure your virtual choir practice leaves you feeling happy & refreshed.
We know singing is good for us. We know that it makes us happy. But these are times like no other. Most of us are juggling more than we ever thought possible. Paddling hard just to stay afloat. “Surely”, you might be thinking, “attending choir practice should be the last thing on our minds?”. Well, you’d be surprised.