Lockdowns! Vaccines! Homemade focaccia! Yes, we are still talking about the pandemic. The media cacophony rises like the tides: job losses, school closures, suspension of hobbies, failing businesses, whole sectors with the rug swept out from under them, including live performance and gathering to make music.
Happily, with survival depending on reevaluation, creativity and adaptation, we are witnessing an unexpected resurgence among musical ensembles finding ways to get together, even at a time when gathering in person is met with finger-wagging (not from the conductors) and hefty fines.
Regular readers know that May is usually the month when The WholeNote publishes its Canary Pages Choral Directory, but that in May 2020 the period for joining the directory was extended from May right through September, with choral profiles being posted to the website as soon as received. Well, it’s May again, and while uncertainty still prevails for many choirs, a heartening number have already signed up. So I reached out to several of these “early adopters” who have already submitted profiles for this year’s Canary Pages, to try to get a feel for how they weathered the past year and how, if at all, their plans for the coming season are further along than at this time last year.
Many expressed frustration, mostly due to the shift of being predominantly online. Most are in agreement, however, that the show, and the opportunity to sing together, must go on. And although more muted than usual, choral directors and choristers are still working together behind the scenes to keep the music in the air. Figuratively speaking, of course.