How are we managing during the pandemic when we can’t rehearse and perform together indoors?
Sadly, our rehearsals stopped in early March because of the COVID outbreak. We miss the beauty, the human connection, expression and spiritual balm we experience every when we together sing in community, The choral arts nourish a deep human need.
On March 9, 2020, 110 singers gathered at Sinclair Community College to prepare songs for the Poor People’s Campaign and Reverend Dr. William Barber’s scheduled visit to Dayton in April. The energy was infectious, the sound deeply moving. At the same time, we were working toward a concert with MUSE Cincinnati’s Women’s Choir to perform a work, Lifting As We Climb, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment.
Then as Ohio began to shut down, everything on our schedule was cancelled.
When COVID numbers started down in late June, the choir held five rehearsals outside behind Mills Lawn School. We were physically distanced and wore masks. We prepped music for Black Lives Matter appearances in Dayton and for the Yellow Springs “Speaking Up for Justice” rallies. In late August, the choir organized a program and performed at the Yellow Springs Women’s Park to mark the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote.
Once the COVID numbers started creeping back up, we decided it unwise to rehearse in person and went back into the Zoom world. During these online rehearsals we’ve learned a few new songs, but primarily we sing pieces we know. We’ve also invited guests for learning sessions. In November, Dr. Tammy Kernodle, Professor of Musicology at Miami University, will present a session on Black women composers, resistance culture and the American concert hall, as well as a discussion about the current culture of protest music.
Soon we will release our first virtual choir performance, All Lifted Hearts. It features Barbara Leeds on piano, five string players, and over sixty singers.
We are pleased to perform virtually for Agraria’s 2020 fall conference, “Pathways to Regeneration: Restoration, Resiliency & Reciprocity.” We took our performances of two movements from the Missa Gaia: Earth Mass [Mystery and Blue Green Hills of Earth] and combined them in videos with images.
We are also in the process of preparing a virtual presentation for the Yellow Spring annual Martin Luther King program in January 2021.
We look forward to the time when we can again sing together in person and perform in our community. Watch this space.