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.
Read about the benefits of joining a virtual choir here.
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.
We love to hear your thoughts
Comment below and tell us what you enjoy most about virtual choir practice!
Wait. Did you just say ‘album’? Have I missed something here?
I spotted that too!
Love the tongue in cheek comments and most of them are true. We giggle, we complain about a tenor or soprano behind us. Always being asked to move, as I’m tall! But it’s still fun…..
Virtual choirs have many advantages, so sticking with them too!!! And album mentioned, it’s ending up as one right?!
You don’t have to travel to and from rehearsals.
Rehearsals don’t have to be cancelled in bad weather.
I love the wonderful opportunity of being able to sing together with such wonderful people as The King`s Singers! And the fun and laughter during the rehearsals, plus the wonderful feeling of togetherness and global interaction, not just while we`re singing but also while chatting to Tori & Jamie and Graham and the other members of SAHC.
Being rather short myself, I just LOVE the front row seat and being able to see Tori conducting all the time! And not having to freeze to death rehearsing in cold churches 😉 And looking respectable “on top” – but wearing my baggy trousers, and best of all my comfy slippers!!! 🙂
Yes, agree absolutely 💯
You can turn your camera off while you scoff the last bit of your evening meal which you are still eating because you thought the rehearsal was half an hour away .There are no travel costs, no getting wet, no getting cold while travelling from A to B. And if you miss all or part of the rehearsal with SAHC you have the opportunity to watch it later.
PS Nobody’s provided any snacks at live rehearsals I’ve been to (I feel deprived) … but I’ve certainly eaten some on my sofa.
People complain about Zoom, but it really should be called “Face to Face”. Where else would i be able to see all the expression in Marin Alsop’s face? Or find myself three feet from Sir Karl Jenkins? I’m loving the reawakening of my elder voice. Yes .. there’s a bit of patina. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
I agree with most of the above, especially number 2, but number 4 may be a stretch too far. I sound a lot better when I CAN’T hear myself! As for missing post-rehearsal drinks, I can have a cheeky slurp of wine after an evening rehearsal without having to brave the rain, pay through the nose and get a taxi home. Enough said. My cat joins me, of course, though I often do it on Zoom with friends too. I’m facing my second birthday in lockdown on April 9th, so we have to be creative about socialising!
The Stay at Home choir has worked so well due to the team’s expertise and passion for continuing to make music and keep everyone singing . Help us all understand how our voice works , how we can improve our technique and appreciate how our voice ages.
You don’t have to wait till the end of the rehearsal to drink wine!
Age and mild infirmity had already caused me to retire from my beloved f2f choir even before Covid came along. I thought my choir days were over. Then came the Stay at Home Choir, out of the blue (almost literally) and I am singing again. What joy! In fact I think I even sing more now than before. And to get the chance to ‘meet’ my heroes like Voces8 and The King’s Singers! You can imagine how happy and relieved I feel when I hear that the SAHC is not going anywhere! Thank you Tori and Jamie!!!
I’m so grateful to the SAHC. Tori, Jamie and Graham run such awesome, professional, polished and fun rehearsals. The tools and recordings are amazing. The projects they come up with provide an unprecedented opportunity to sing with internationally acclaimed musicians joining choristers from all over the world. I owe part of my pandemic sanity to the SAHC. What more can I ask for? No long drives to choir in Canadian winters, no disruptions, the ability to turn on & off when I see fit! And recording sure makes us better singers…thanks SAHC
For me, those are not tongue in cheek reasons! They are my reasons! (Ok, maybe I’m a little bit of a hermit by nature…).
Also, I feel that since participating in virtual choirs (three, two which were to be in person) my voice has improved tremendously! Having to hear me when I do the recordings has been difficult… but it has paid off!!
Obviously, singing in a group is wonderful, but, thanks to the pandemic, I have been able to sing more than I ever had, and honestly, I would miss virtual choirs if they disappeared. So, thank you SAHC!
I often work in the evenings, teaching piano, so I haven’t been able to attend a choir practice in person for years! I am loving being able to catch up on rehearsals in my own time, and i feel part of a choir community again – thankyou!
All of the above! No driving to rehearsals and trying to find parking. Rehearsals at times to suit me. A superb community. Llamas! What’s not to like?