The Joys of the Cantabile Singers’ Virtual Choir Experiment

Taking on the role of the music director of the Cantabile Singers of Kamloops in the middle of a global pandemic is certainly an interesting experience. I couldn’t ask for a better group of humans to be going through this process with though!

The double whammy of change in director paired with the ever-changing circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic certainly adds some extra stress. But it also provides a unique opportunity to very clearly and definitively establish an end to one chapter and the start of a new one. The shift into virtual activities makes a clear change, be it zoom meetings just to keep in touch or, more recently trying our hand at creating a Virtual Choir video.

I selected a madrigal that I have always enjoyed singing, Thomas Morely’s April is in My Mistress’ Face, and the choir members set about learning it. Of course, in isolation. I can’t fully express how incredible it was to work with them on this experiment. Of course, people were nervous. It’s perfectly understandable; recording yourself solo is a nerve-wracking for many people. Choral singers are also accustomed to being one of many voices working together. The solo recording is not only way outside the norm, it’s also well outside a typical person’s comfort zone. You are very vulnerable, and your insecurities can run rampant. But despite all this, the singers forged ahead and recorded themselves. It was beautiful to see everyone transition from being nervous and concerned to “ok, I know my part, I’ve practiced with the reference track, it’s time to do this!”

Being associated with these wonderful humans makes me very happy. Many people would just turn away from the challenge. You couldn’t really fault anyone for doing so. But, like with other challenges in the past, the Cantabile Singers of Kamloops instead actively chose to rise to it. Check out the video here. I am biased as hell, but I think it turned out pretty well. And I couldn’t be prouder of my awesome choir.

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