Our first virtual choir
When the Covid lockdown first began in March, my choir at St. Simon's church had only just begun preparing music for the upcoming Easter holiday services. Our rehearsals had to suspend, and our program went on hiatus. I wasn't sure how to keep any semblance of a choir program running without meeting in person - the idea of a Zoom choir didn't at the time seem like a reasonable idea.
After about 6 weeks of not meeting, we decided to start meeting regularly on Zoom in order to stay connected and keep the music program going. We'd chat, listen to music together, and sometimes sing together (with everyone muted). The idea of a virtual choir project began to move forward, very slowly - and finally, yesterday, our first project was presented.
I learned how to use Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Audition, and am (in baby steps) learning about videography and video production. I must admit, the project was far more fun and meaningful than I expected - and we are planning to make these projects a periodical thing at the church.
I wrote a short note to accompany the release of the video on the Church's services and website - so I'm going to post that here as well. It is meant to give a little insight into what this experience meant to all of us who participated, and who have deeply missed being part of a choral program during this lock down.
For me, music has always held a very special place in worship, and choir seems a uniquely rich part of that. To listen to a choir is to hear a gathering of diverse voices joined together in a single work, the result of many hours dedicated to developing unity while celebrating uniqueness. To join a choir is to take a step away from a consumptive prayer—where we only ingest an offering prepared and served by others—toward a more participative prayer—where we prepare, serve, and ingest together. To serve in a choir is to be a part of a community; where together we develop patience, grace and understanding, discipline, confidence and humility, along with our musical skills. To sing in a choir is to make an offering that is greater than the sum of its parts, to create a sound more beautiful than any of its individual voices. I have deeply missed this ministry during our time apart.
So, we have been hard at work to recreate this experience in the “Zoom Era;” and we are very excited to share our first ever “St. Simon’s Virtual Choir!” This project has looked very different from its in-person counterpart, and yet the resulting blessings have felt in many ways similar. We gathered virtually to rehearse the music together; each of us learning our part from behind a muted camera. We made recordings of our individual parts which were then edited together into a choir; and there, in the editing process, I learned the art of digitally combining many diverse voices, talents, technology, recording set-ups, and aspect ratios into a single, unified work. Along the way, I think that we all learned some new skills, developed some new patience and understanding, gained in confidence and perhaps gained more in humility – while continuing to build community as we learn a brand new way of making music.
I hope that this choral anthem will be as much a blessing to those who hear it, as it was to us who prepared it. I hope that it will be the first of many such projects, and that you might consider joining us to see what blessings a choir ministry might hold for you. As our time together on Zoom draws on, I believe that now, more than ever, having a wide variety of voices joining together in prayer and music is essential to the richness of our worship. I would love to see our virtual choir, as well as our weekly service music and musical reflections, continue to expand to include the many gifts our church has to offer! If you feel that you might be interest in participating in our music ministry, please send me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) – I would love to hear from you.