This year started out like any other year. Actually, I was looking forward to more things in 2020 than previous years! We had just finished a wonderful new Advent Rejoice service, and I was excited about the many upcoming musical opportunities at Christ the King for 2020. The youth put on a fantastic musical, I planned a whole season of fabulous concerts to kick off the Music and Arts series, I was looking forward to rehearsing and singing a brand new Cantata, “What Wondrous Love” for Good Friday, and the ultimate, taking the Sanctuary Choir to sing Kim André Arnesen’s, “Magnificat” in CARNEGIE HALL in April. What an exciting spring!
Then, news hit about the spread of Coronavirus. On Wednesday night, March 11th, we were rehearsing like so many choirs around the world. We had an awesome rehearsal for our new shape-note style Cantata, and best rehearsal we had ever had of the “Magnificat” for New York. We were ready to perform this! The next day, the world came to a screeching halt. It has now been about 10 weeks since this happened, but it feels like it was years ago.
I know I am not the only person whose life changed drastically in a day. Everywhere you looked something was cancelled. It felt like EVERYTHING was canceled. Every single person in the world now had some aspect of their life that was different. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would see anything like this during my lifetime. Yet, here we are.
My evenings went from rehearsing and making incredible music with friends all over the Twin Cities, to “Zooming” with them in the evenings to hear about their new lives. Choirs quickly learned that the technology is just not supported and available to have live rehearsals, so our rehearsals turned into virtual happy hours and family check-ins. It has been so wonderful to continue to see people online and catch up on life. But musicians, like so many others, have been left with a huge hole in their heart where ensemble music making once was.
I personally have gone through all of the stages of grief, and now, after news continues to prove that the choirs of the world may be among the last elements to return to normalcy, it is time to get creative. I have had many friends remind me that singing itself is NOT canceled. The Sanctuary Choir is very excited to bring to you a huge project that we have worked on during this time of quarantine. Make sure you tune into worship on May 31st, (Pentecost/Music Sunday) for a very special presentation from the Sanctuary Choir and friends!
If you have spent any time on social media, you have probably seen a virtual choir or two. There is absolutely no substitute for singing in community, but virtual choir has been a great way to help us get through this global pandemic. My husband, Chris, has produced a handful of these videos for choirs in the Twin Cities. People always ask how he does it. Simply put, first someone records an accompaniment. Then, one singer at a time, listens to that piano accompaniment in headphones, while singing over it and recording themselves live from the comfort of their home. One by one, those audio tracks are aligned, balanced, blended, tuned, and synced. Then the entire process has to happen with the video files as well. It takes 30-60 minute per singer for each video. This is why you haven’t seen the Choir sing in worship on a weekly basis, but I am so proud of each and every one of them that has participated in this project! We are really excited to share this labor of love with you all.
So, remember the things that aren’t canceled: love, kindness, hope, dreams, peace, faith, self-care, having fun, exercising, and singing. And when the danger has passed, we will gather again in person to sing together. Because nothing can replace the universal heartbeat we feel when we sing together.
Heather Nelson, Director of Music