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Rhythm & Song Community Choir

The resilience and creativity that humans have demonstrated in these last few months has been impressive. Since COVID-19 hit, everyone I know, and even strangers have asked “What did you do about your choir sessions?” And, like millions of others, I answer, “Took it online”. Thus, ‘ZOOM’, for many, has become a household word. We zoom, zoomed, are zooming, have zoomed and will zoom.

What’s it like? Well, certainly not the same as singing in person, in harmony with a bunch of warm, enthusiastic, open-hearted people for an hour and two times a week. Nothing, NOTHING, can replace that kind of connection. However, since the middle of March, up to 30 singers have gathered online twice-a-week to sing their hearts out in the comfort of their own homes. It has always been reassuring to see the familiar faces that show up. Of course, it online singing isn’t for everyone. Many Rhythm & Song singers do a lot of online work meetings during the day and are ‘zoomed out’ by the time our sessions come around.

Our online sessions unfold in a similar way to our in-person sessions. I feel continuity and consistency are really important with all the uncertainty we’re experiencing. We have a short period at the beginning of our sessions to greet and chat then do a brief warm-up before singing ‘together’ for an hour. The singers hear me and themselves. We can see each other, but due to a lag in sound, we cannot sing and hear each other at the same time. I hear that worker bees somewhere on the planet are working to solve this problem but we’re not quite there yet.

Over the last 9 weeks, I have learned ways to make the experience a little more satisfying for all which includes: a few technical tricks; a good microphone; fewer detailed harmony parts; more unison singing; singing with some backing vocal tracks; and singing short, easy, uplifting songs. Like our in-person sessions, we always feel better after the session than before, and love checking in with others who offer jokes, thoughts, and encouragement.

Online choir sessions will be wrapping up in the next couple of weeks but keep your eyes peeled in The Millstone for a four-session singing workshop coming in June.

As for choir sessions next fall? My fingers and toes are crossed that we’ll be able to have group gatherings with some social distancing practices in place but it’s too soon to tell. If not, we’ll be zooming. Whichever way the cookie crumbles, fall sessions will be announced in August. To get on the email list in order to find out about upcoming online singing events please contact Jennifer at randsalmonte@gmail.com or visit jennifernoxon.com/choir or jennifernoxon.com/singing-events.

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