Bay of Quinte Chorus creates a newsletter periodically throughout the year to keep our friends, supporters and followers up-to-date with the activities and events of the chorus. It is delivered via our Friends of Bay of Quinte Chorus email mailing list. Anyone can subscribe to this mailing list to receive our newsletters as they are released.
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Here we are headed into June, and almost three months since official Provincial and State shutdowns were implemented. As more cities and towns begin the process of reopening, this brings mixed emotions to most people, and much trepidation to those in the musical arts.
Live musical events all over the globe have been hit hard by COVID-19, and sadly singing venues will be one of the last public gatherings to be allowed to startup again. This makes all good sense as spittle is a natural part of singing, and intensified with large groups. Safety, health and wellness must remain at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
It is not an easy time for choruses. Members miss singing together, seeing each other in person and all the hugs too! Hold the faith sisters in song as one day we will reunite, and that moment in time will become more precious to us than ever before.
In the meantime, thank goodness for the technological times we live in. There are numerous online platforms out there to help us get together. It’s not ideal, but we are living in “luxury times” to have the options available to us.
“The new normal for choruses during the COVID-19 pandemic has become Zoom rehearsals and because of the relationships we have built over the years, it is noticeable that we are all delighted to “see” each other,” said Director, Joel Bootsma. “We welcome each other into our homes with feelings of encouragement to see smiling familiar faces looking back at us wishing us well, and doing our best to keep the music happening.
Zoom has forced us to reconsider and reinvent the way we do rehearsals, as that important part of barbershop singing is missing; the harmony,” he said.
“Having one person be the soloist, and others (while muted) trying to match their part to the soloist has challenged each singer to strengthen her own part. It’s a little like duetting, and also poses the challenge to be bold enough to sing solo.”
Joel added, “There are some silver linings in our new challenges! The best solutions to harmony so far have been to sing along to recordings or learning tracks. The reinventing has led us to listen to performances, and to critique what we see and hear; a good exercise which we never seem to have time for in regular rehearsal. And perhaps when we finally gather together to sing in harmony again, we will have some new tools to use!”
Assistant Director, Colleen Stickle has adapted to Zoom well to work with us on warmups and vocal instruction. “There are areas where not much change is needed. Each member can self-monitor posture, relaxation, breathing, working on range, intervals and tongue twisters,” said Colleen. “But, it is difficult to check pitch, match vowels for unit sound, etc. Although basic voice work can be carried out to some extent, there are certainly limitations, as with this team “sport” we rely on blending into the sound around us, so it is difficult to make it work virtually.”
“Vocal chords, like muscles, need to be kept active so they work properly; if you don’t use it, you lose it theory,” she said. “A marathon runner, instrumental musician, etc. does not take time off, so if we don’t sing regularly, we soon will lose the control of our voices. The voice is our instrument and we have to keep it tuned all the time.”
Membership retention can be difficult for choruses as priorities change. The lack of face to face can cause some ladies to find other outlets. Our Membership Chairperson, Cheryl Street, works hard to keep our numbers up, and to attract new members. Her goal is a golden number of 25 members!
Cheryl notes that It can feel a bit defeating at times with the complex issues of the pandemic and the long road ahead to the new normal we will all face, and the uncertainty of what that will look like. This makes recruiting ladies far more challenging. While we have lost new members, our numbers remain consistent. For our geographic area, we take pride in this. Cheryl is optimistic and feels that once we come out the other side, we will reach our goal of 25 members!
Share your successes, as well as your pain points. By doing so, you will help other choruses, and individual members, to not feel alone.
Where there is hope, there is light! It will be a long road ahead, but hold onto your faith—we’ll make it, and we’ll shine brightly!
With 2020 well underway, we are busy getting ready for some upcoming performances and competition in April.
The first event of the new year was our Boston Pizza Celebrity Server fundraiser on January 27. What a huge success the fundraiser was! And what fun too! We are grateful to Boston Pizza for hosting us, to the customers who cheered us on and to our own members who brought guests. We send a very special shout out to the ladies from Greater Kingston Chorus who came out as well. We are ever grateful to you for your undaunted support, and we really enjoyed singing “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” with you. We certainly did feel the love, thank you!
Our chorus thrives on great teamwork and the team came together for the Boston Pizza event. But a special extra nod of thanks must be given to our Fundraising Chairperson, Jenny Omdal. She hit the ball right out of the park on this event! Thank you, Jenny.
We are excited to be a part of a lovely Valentine’s dinner and evening of song with the fine gentlemen of A Cappella Quinte on February 14. This has been a longstanding 'date' with our two choruses and we are once again looking forward to the festivities. To learn more about the men’s chorus, visit their website.
As we move just past the half-way point of winter, we are reminded of how important it is to eat healthy, exercise, laugh and play, and to seek out activities to lift us over any winter blues that may set in. Listening to music and singing are two of those activities that are scientifically proven to help beat the blues. When we sing, we release endorphins that can help ease stress and even give one a sense of euphoria. So sing loud, sing proud, smile and remember… Spring is on its way!
Our big news this edition is a brand spanking new website! We are excited and proud of our new chorus website home, and we hope to attract many women in our area to explore our pages to learn more about us and to ultimately entice them to come out to our open practices Monday evenings. Please take the time to check it out www.bayofquintechorus.com
As we move into December we will wrap up the fun of singing Christmas carols with our Christmas Chorus guests. They have been sensational and we hope they choose to stay on with us as full members.
We will take our break starting December 9 with a big Christmas party dinner together before taking the time off to spend it with family and friends. We will start up regular practices again on January 6. Wow! It’s hard to believe that 2020 is just around the corner!
To all our sisters in song, “Weeee wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” Love and light wishes for a wonderful holiday season and a New Year filled with much song, laughter and joyful moments for all!