By Joseph Ripka, Director of Music
Part I: INTRODUCTION
“A virtual choir, online choir or home choir is a choir whose members do not meet physically, but who work together online from separate places.” This is one of the many definitions you will find if you Google ‘Virtual Choir.’ This kind of choir, though not a new invention, has essentially been the primary way for singers to sing ‘together’ during the Covid19 pandemic. Our services over the past few months have included several musical offerings assembled as virtual choir pieces, including the psalm last Sunday and the choir anthem for this coming Sunday.
All Saints’ has been blessed with many talented singers and wonderful choral groups over the years, including the Senior Choir, Chamber Choir, Day School Choristers, Community Choristers, and Schola Cantorum. Belonging to a choir and participating in a choir is a true family experience. Many of our own All Saints’ long-term choir members also sing in a variety of different vocal ensembles around the valley. Choir participation becomes a wonderful weekly routine and an experience that forms bonds, friendships and family.
If you have sung in a choir before, you know that there are many skills that form the choral sound. Breathing together, listening together, making sounds together - all of these things combined, and many more, form the basis of how choirs sound the way they do. Many of these skills are those in which it's very helpful to be aware of the other singers in the room and respond to what they are doing. Imagine taking all of those group skills that conductors and singers depend on out of the music making process, and then asking choir members to wear headphones and sing to a video recorder in their living rooms! This is the new reality of week-to-week choir performance.
Over the next few weeks, I would like to share with you the process through which our choirs have come together to make choral music during this pandemic. I hope it will shed some light on the work that we do each week and inspire your thoughts and ideas. Over the next two weeks, I will also share with you the process of recording and editing these virtual choir videos.
If you haven’t already, I invite you to browse our All Saints’ YouTube channel where you can find some of our various virtual choir recordings. You can link to our channel HERE. Please also watch for music updates on the church website.