Singing during lockdown

It's been a long while since we wrote about how Eclipse Choir is going, mostly because we've been hunkered down working out how to make the best of the on-off lockdown / tier restrictions and covid-19 health and safety.

However, entering 2021 it's time to look up and show off a little bit.

The wonderful singers in our Monday and Thursday choirs have really worked hard and adjusted well to the manner of our rehearsals. Have a listen to the music we made for our Christmas concert online in December 2020. With thanks to Jim and Miranda and all contributors for their hard work making the music tracks and videos.

After the first lockdown in March 2020 Jim quickly moved rehearsals onto Zoom, which were alien at first, but slowly they got better, and singers were able to draw from the teaching in new ways.

As all choir members over the world agree, singing alone with other people on screen is never going to match up to real-life rehearsals and all the joy that goes with it. However, we are very fortunate because Jim has a music studio and is really on top of the technology to help us learn as best as possible. He pre-records vocal parts that help a lot in rehearsals, he's used a tool call Soundslice that helps us follow scores more easily, and he's worked so diligently to create our virtual choir sound! It was in the studio also where, once the first wave of the pandemic had passed, we were able to book a slot to meet in small groups and sing safely.

Remote rehearsals do help members focus on different aspects of singing together in a choir. As we can't hear each other it is more exposing, and it's definitely harder for choir leaders who can only guess what people sound like, and where they'll probably need help and repetition.

For singers, not having the group sound can leave you with a vulnerable feeling. So Jim's teaching focus has changed to help people grow where they feel week and exposed. You can't lean on anyone else if you're unsure of the part, and Zoom highlights where you're unsure and where you need to practice. As such, bit by bit, choir members have come to appreciate that we can use the Zoom sessions for more technical work, doing vocal exercises, learning better how to sight read music, grow in confidence and strength in their own sound, and as such putting voices together remotely will create a better result.

So, in spite of Covid, we are determined to carry on and make the most of the singing we can do together whilst we are apart!