On Thursday 20th March 36 members of Sing Tower Hamlets (and a few most welcome guests!) gathered on Zoom for the inaugural session of Sing Tower Homelets*!
Let’s be honest, it’s no real replacement for being in a room together and making a joyful noise (what could be better?!). But, as we adapt to this strange new world we’re all suddenly living in, we and countless other choirs around the UK / world are getting creative in the face of coronavirus. We can continue as best we can to foster community and joy through singing, to the extent that technology allows!
No, we can’t actually SING TOGETHER over the internet. There is too much delay to sync two voices, let alone 30-odd. But, we can learn parts to new songs by singing along with the leader as they teach harmonies… we can exercise our voices and move and breathe together… we can run known songs through with accompaniment (either a leader playing live at home, or with a pre-recorded track), singing along from the comfort of our living rooms… we can talk through style and sound and technique, workshopping skills and brushing up on details… and we can do all this while seeing our fellow choir members doing the same thing simultaneously! Perhaps most importantly, we can continue to BE TOGETHER. Even if we can’t be a choir per se at this time, we can still be a singing community.
Singers said of the session that it was “very moving and very necessary”… that it “really helped to lift my mood”… that it was “great to see everyone’s beaming faces!”… and my favourite: “quite weird but amazing” 🙂
Some singers fed back that actually it was a bonus to be able to sing their part along the whole time while other parts were learning, given that they were muted. Perhaps we’ll discover other such silver linings to this weird way of doing choir during this time! It strikes me that perhaps having the opportunity to sing together-but-alone in this way might increase people’s confidence in using their own voices, and help their ownership of learning a harmony rather than relying on the person sitting next to them in a group.
In this first online session we started learning Carole King’s beautiful You’ve Got a Friend, arranged and taught by the brilliant Adam Saunders, who’s been running choir this term. We sang, “All you gotta to do is call… and I’ll be there…”, which felt very appropriate for what we were doing. While we can’t be there in person, we can be there together online, and I’ll take that.
And we’re going again, this week on Tuesday 24th March at 7.30pm. If you’d like to join, drop us a line and we’ll send you the meeting link!
In these strange times of social distancing, still we will SING.
* credit to STH founder member Renuka for this name – it is the BEST and so is she.