I doubt anyone could have foreseen a time when singing with your peers at school was discouraged on a global scale. In fact, I doubt that anyone could have predicted modern day events at all. Nevertheless, these are the times we live in. Schools reopening and shutting down, stores closing left and right, millions of COVID-19 cases and deaths, at this point, the world exploding would not be too far off. But, these uncertain times help to highlight all that we take for granted in life—in the worst way possible. While gaining a deeper insight into life is great, having that discovery be at the expense of life puts a damper on the feeling. But discoveries are often had whether one wishes for it or not. In the case of the modern world, this pandemic has really proven the saying “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone”. And this applies to many things; both big and small. For me, one of these ‘small things’ is my choir class.
Due to the current pandemic and the subsequent safety precautions, singing in a choir on the Orange Lutheran campus is prohibited. As a member of the Honors Women’s Chorus, these restrictions have affected me personally. For starters, the entire way that the class functions has been altered out of necessity. It consists of humming along to sheet music, practicing sight reading, and desperately trying to memorize songs that we cannot sing along to. In previous years, Honors Women’s Chorus could have had three to five songs already perfected in the time it took us to learn one song and a medley. And that is unfortunately not all. As classes are remote half of the time, the only instances where we can sing are when we are muted on zoom. This means that you cannot hear anyone else who is singing the same part as you, and it makes it much more difficult to know if you are correct. While this is definitely not ideal, it is the best that can be done under the circumstances.
There have, however, been times where we could sing together. For my choir, we were allowed to record some of our songs together. In the first instance, it was done in the Nechita center, one at a time. We were also wearing masks while singing. The second instance which was the most recent was done outside, socially distanced, with masks as well. For the times that we have not sung together, we have done virtual concerts. These consist of each singer recording themself singing alone at home. While these are definitely a step up from no concerts whatsoever, the individualistic aspect again makes it quite difficult, as with singing over zoom. Since the uncertainty of the current world pervades into even the obscurest of places, no one knows whether we will be able to do any in person concerts this year in the manner that we have done them in the past. So for the time being, Honors Women’s Chorus (and I’m sure the rest of the choirs) are planning on doing several more virtual concerts.
Ultimately, 2020 has not been the most conducive year for singing. Yet I am grateful for what the Orange Lutheran choirs have the ability to do. While not perfect, the performances and classes done this year show a determination to keep creating art in the form of music, that I now have a renewed appreciation of. And, if it keeps people safe, I will gladly abstain from singing in a choir for as long as necessary.
Photo Credit: olusingers