The Hallelujah Chorus. Christmas carols. Happy Birthday. Favorite hymns and anthems. If you like to sing, perhaps you’ve sung all of these, no doubt surrounded by other singers. Those of us who sing together in church choirs find great joy spending countless Wednesday evening rehearsals and Sunday morning services working and hoping to minister and heal through our singing.
Suddenly, we are told to be silent.
“But can’t we just – ”
“What if we wear a – ”
“If we’re far enough apart – “
“Sorry, but no.”
No singing together. At all. For the foreseeable future, or at least until someone gives us the news that there’s now a vaccine available, or that someone has invented a nifty reliably safe singer’s mask.
What in the world are we supposed to do?
Nearly six months in, I’m still kind of in shock about it. There’s no substitute for being in the same space, breathing the same air, riding together on wavelengths of sound. The old song says, “I’ve gotta’ sing when the Spirit says sing” and for many of us, that’s true!
When I first heard about virtual choirs, I seriously turned up my nose. That’s not singing together, you’re not even in the same room, or singing at the same time. You can’t possibly blend, or be in the same tempo — for heaven’s sake, you can’t even see each other! What’s the point?
Welp. I’ve had a little change of heart. No, it’s NOT like singing together, you’re NOT in the same room. You have to sing along with a video and put on headphones and turn your camera just right. Wear a nice shirt, comb your hair, smile a little. It’s weird new territory for us.
But then, you watch the final product. And through the magic of technology, people are singing together in tempo, smiling and enjoying themselves, sharing their music — hoping to minister and heal through their singing.
It’s completely different, but it’s what we’ve got for now. So in the time of this pandemic, we will still make a joyful noise unto the Lord. (Just not in the same room.)
And by the way, this choir director-turned-sort-of-video-editor (and believe me, nobody taught THAT in music school) is having a lot of fun making videos. Wanna’ be in the next one? Give me a shout, we’d love to have you!