I wasn’t going to participate in Fandango’s Who Won the Week this week, because not much has happened. Then I started thinking about what I enjoyed most this week. The first thing I thought of was the warmer weather (finally!) and the flowers. But then I thought of something that deserves to “win” the week because I have been enjoying it every Sunday afternoon.
Our senior community has two closed-circuit TV stations – one of which is used by the staff for announcements, virtual meetings, exercise classes, etc. The other station is for our entertainment! Videos of virtual choirs are put together and shown every Sunday afternoon. But that is not the only time that one can hear virtual choirs and other virtual musical groups. Facebook has many postings of virtual choirs and YouTube is another place to see them. A grid of small squares appears on the screen, and in each square is an individual singer performing in his/her own home. It also takes a lot of coordination and tech savvy to put these performances together. Everyone has to be singing at exactly the right tempo (down to the millisecond), on key, and usually with parts memorized. Many wear headphones, presumably to be able to hear a background track to keep them exactly in the right place at the right time. Whoever puts them together collects a recorded track from each performer and syncs them to sound like a real choir, with the right blend and volume. Many have to be tweeked or re-recorded if a singer is just a tiny bit off. The effect, when finished, is quite spectacular! If you are not looking at the screen, you wouldn’t be able to tell that it isn’t the whole rather than the sum of its parts.
Virtual choirs uplift my spirit – whether gospel or secular, their enthusiasm is evident, and when I look at their faces, I feel a connection to them. They are putting together these online performances for all of us, who are at home in quarantine, as are they. At that moment, I realize that these individuals could be anywhere in the entire world, because we have the technology to bring everyone together, and that people all over the world are basically doing the same thing we are doing right now – staying at home being entertained by virtual performances. I feel a sort of solidarity with my fellow human beings around the world whose countries are also afflicted by the pandemic. In Spain, England, Brazil, India, Germany, Canada, the U.S. and many others, people are tuning in to their local news outlets which give them the daily statistics of number of cases, number of deaths, and what the “curve” currently looks like in their part of the world. Everyone is going stir crazy, and there are many jokes, cartoons and parodies about the dilemma of being stuck at home while a highly contagious virus makes its way through our communities.
So this week, I honor virtual choirs for their inspiration, dedication and enthusiasm to allow us to forget while being swept into the music, and make life just a little bit easier for us all.