“Rehearsals ceased from 14 March by voluntary decision. At the time, the Brazilian authorities had not taken any decision. As a precaution, and to see what was happening with my colleagues around the world, I decided to stop everything. We do not yet have an estimated date for the resumption of rehearsals. With each passing day, we believe that this is the peak of the viral infections. So, I guess we’re not living in the worst of times yet, unfortunately…
All the concerts that were planned have been postponed without a date, for when everything will be over. And the concerts planned for the long term, I think it will be impossible to do them because of the lack of rehearsals.
Das Alte Erbe is in a special situation because it is a young choir (2 years old), with singers participating for the first time in a choir with sacred repertoire. I think that what will be most affected will be the vocal technique because I consider that via the internet, the teacher is not able to check in depth everything concerning vocal technique. However, I thought that there are other very important things to work on at the moment. I have created a work plan to be developed individually and collectively in relation to : 1. music theory, 2. foreign phonetics (French: our biggest difficulty) . And it’s interesting to see how I manage to move things forward, in which normally, at the time of rehearsal, they are observed more lightly.
© Das Alte Erbe
I think one of the positive things that this situation of isolation has enabled us to achieve is the ability to reinvent ourselves, first of all us conductors, and then the choir singers, mainly the older ones. Part of our job as conductors is to maintain the singers’ enthusiasm and their desire not to miss rehearsals, and to create in them the need to study for their next rehearsal, a situation that is much easier in a live rehearsal and is currently impossible. So the technology has been, without a doubt, a tool in which, in my case, I had to update myself to use it :
– Collective virtual folders: each lectern has a virtual folder to which the whole group has access. There they find recordings of the repertoire with only the voice of their music stand and the accompaniment. Many of these recordings were made by me, but others can be found on the web. In the case of my choirs, I don’t use noonis because I prefer to incorporate the articulations I have in mind and the unified phonetics in the studio recordings.
– non-rehearsal meetings: I have learned that fraternization is very important. In normal situations we have regular meetings for eating and dancing. And why not do it online as well? We “catch up” with video calls or our whatsapp group that is active all day long.
– Personal contact: I have also noticed that the contact with every singer in a
special way is very motivating for them. Thus, in addition to being in constant concern with them about the pandemic, the correction of tasks has also been in a personal way. There, I noticed certain difficulties that are repeated among the singers, and others that are completely different between them. It’s wonderful! Because I can really help in the difficulty of each one, and for sure, the result in the end will be much better.
– ONLINE VIDEOS: I think it’s important to keep this enthusiasm in this situation! With small activities like recording some videos for instagram, it’s been super satisfying. They get ready at home, they put on a little bit of make-up, they do their hair, fix their beard and they each record their video, send it to me and I edit it afterwards. It’s been a positive training for me too.
Another thing, I made a collection of the best videos of the last concerts, and we prepared a streaming last week, we had a big audience and the choir remembered how nice the work we do is.
However, one of the disappointments is the vocal technique of the singers because I haven’t yet found a way to really be able to listen to the students online. In this choir, although it is an amateur choir, each of the singers has one hour a week of singing lessons with me. However, I have not been able to continue this work in any real depth online until now. On the other hand, I consider the personal work with each of the singers in the choir (Das Alte Erbe has 40 singers), in areas that take up a lot of time in rehearsals, such as foreign phonetics and music theory, to be very useful. “
Nicolás González Martínez
Choir Conductor – Municipal Theater of Santiago, Chile
Choir Conductor – Conservatory of Music Manuel de Falla, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Posgraduate in Chamber & Symphonic Choral Music – Conservatory of Music Manuel de Falla – Buenos Aires, Argentina