” Bonjour, mes amis. It is good to hear from you. I hope you and your family are well.
Yes, this is very difficult and sad. I will write about each of my choirs below :
– Syracuse University Singers – 35-voice collegiate chamber choir
Fortunately, we had 2 major performances just before the shutdown. We sang at the ACDA Eastern Region Conference March 7 and then we had a collaborative concert with all our school choirs and the American Spiritual Ensemble, March 11.
Since then the choir has had assignments. They had to record themselves singing 2 pieces that were already in progress. Then they helped my select music for the future.
1 – submit 3 works by female composers
2 – 3 works by Latin X composers
3 – 3 works by African or African-American composers
4 – 3 works by Asian composers
5 – 3 works from different historical periods
We also had 2 Zoom meetings :
1 – we watched video of our ACDA performance and shared comments and feelings
2 – we met with composer, Dale Trumbore, as well as recognized our graduating members
– Syracuse University Oratorio Society (120 members – student and community group – symphony chorus)
We were preparing Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem with the professional orchestra in Syracuse. But it was cancelled. On the night it was supposed to be performed we met via Zoom – watched a YouTube performance of the Vaughan Williams and sang along. I also had made a video of me conducting another short piece for that concert and they sang along.
Since then the student members had 2 assignments. I sent them links to 3 performances of Dona Nobis and had them rank each movement and each overall performance. Secondly, they had to write a short papers on a choice of topics – the derivation of the term Oratorio, the compositional background of Dona Nobis, or compare different settings of one of the Whitman poems used in Dona Nobis.
For both choirs we are tied to Syracuse University. SU hopes to be in residence again in the fall; however, classes may look different. Especially for Oratorio, we may not be able to rehearse together yet. Most studies say singing is more dangerous than just being together and that you should be very far apart. I am not sure there is space available where 120 people can rehearse in a useful way being that far apart. So far the orchestra has cancelled all spring concerts and we are discussing alternatives for the fall. Moreover, a good number of the singers are older and are reluctant to be together, which is more than understandable.
University Singers is a little easier to imagine getting started since it is much smaller. It may be that we have to meet in section rehearsals for a while until we can rehearse together. I may have to assign recording assignments for them as well – they learn their parts on their own and record. I can also send recordings of me saying the text, IPA sheets, that they can then work on the pronunciation.
We were also supposed to come to France for the Florilege competition this month – but our trip is cancelled.