You live and learn they say.
Well we’re certainly doing that as Coastline Harmony morphs into a virtual choir.
There’s no real substitute for singing together but there’s little chance of us ringing those chords in the same room anytime soon. So we, like so many others, have turned to technology to satisfy our need to keep singing. Some of us have taken to it like ducks to water, others are wallowing like a hippo in a mudbath.
It’s frustrating, funny, foolish and fascinating but there’s always someone on hand to help out with a phone call, a techy tip or two and a good dose of laughter.
And virtual rehearsals have some real benefits:
• The mute button is king; how lovely for our MD Stuart to be able to silence us all with the click of a mouse – bet he wishes he’ll still have that button when we get back together again!
• Glitchy internet connections and Zoom delays make for some odd conversations full of non-sequiturs but it’s democratic, if slightly chaotic, as everyone’s included in the conversation.
• Our unique, fun and deliberately out-of-sync renditions of Happy Birthday achieve increasingly wonderful weirdness each time.
• The delight of the occasional on-screen guest appearances of family pets.
• Collectively watching inspirational choirs and our own past performances reminds us why we do this – to entertain and share the joy of singing.
• The opportunity to practice our ‘performance faces’ on camera.
Some of us have gone further with props (won’t share the images to spare their blushes!) and amazing virtual backgrounds that can have you singing in a cherry orchard, beside the Caribbean or on a mountain top.
We’re embracing headphones and recording apps and developing our skills in self- evaluation – after all in virtual rehearsal space no-one can hear you scream!
And so on Thursday night at 7.15 we turn up, warm up, tell jokes, sympathise and sing. We pause to Clap for Carers wherever we are, then launch back into the challenge of remote singing.
It’s great to see everyone – without it we’d all feel more isolated and it gives us something to look forward to each week.
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