As expected, the start of the 2020 season is as strange and difficult as I imagined…and that’s saying a lot given our 35 year herstory! It was a blow to find that singers are super-spreaders last spring. (We knew we were powerful voices…but along with our love and goodwill, it turns out that we can also spread COVID). So we find ourselves living through a global pandemic, a social awakening with historic protests, natural disasters, an era of the greatest political tests we’ve ever known, and all of this alongside our usual life challenges: losses, transitions, health issues, job uncertainty, home schooling, etc. What’s worse, we are doing this without our ability to gather together and soak-up each other’s energy and support. (Zoom is a great tool and I love seeing everyone, but I miss your energy.) Although I’m also experiencing the stress and anxiety, I recall my mother’s words as she reflected about struggling through a world war: “You find that you just do what needs to be done at those times.” Yes, this is what life is looking like right now.
As one of your leaders, I can attest that the choir is working hard behind the scenes to figure out how we can continue to support our choir family—even when we can’t yet gather in large groups. I’m seeing new choir members come forth to lend a hand…everyone pitching in to find resources and possible tools to use. We continue to look at many possibilities: producing videos, synchronous music platforms, spacious rehearsal venues like indoor sports fields, garages, parking lots, etc. There are benefits and challenges to all of these, but the bottom line is that we can’t predict what lies ahead and what the timeline will be.
For now, Lynn and I have taken your suggestions to bring back some Soromundi faves, and we have chosen starter songs that are a bit easier but fit the themes that many of us are dealing with. There are songs of hope and positive affirmation (One Day, Some Inside So Strong, Love Can Build a Bridge), songs about loss (Who will Sing for Me?, Bright Angel, I Feel Like Going On), and songs of determination (Shed a Little light, We Must Take Back the Night, Ella’s Song, The Storm is Passing Over). Then later, we have some new tunes that fit more of a world theme—I would tell you the names, but you don’t know them.
What will we do with these? Will we perform? When? Where?… Yes, I have the same questions! We cannot count on a quick transition to normal life, so our tour has been postponed another year. However, I believe our voices are much needed right now, and so I am hopeful that as we work through a slow transition, we will have some inspirational repertoire ready to take out into our community. This may take the form of outdoor events or recordings of synchronous small group performances. I hope this will occur during the second half of the season, on the way to our Hult Center concert! (Yes, there is one scheduled!)
This brings me to you…our community…the most important part of the chorus. I encourage you to continue taking care of yourself and each other. You know yourself and what you need! Find things you are interested in, do what you can to battle the anxiety/depression, and do things to counter the divisiveness in the world. I also find it helpful to work towards balancing the energy you are exposing yourself to: commune with nature, connect with your pets, watch the youngsters around you—always good for a smile—and find random things to laugh at. I have started trying to do a random act of kindness every day after hearing about a woman in England who is doing this. It can be big—delivering some sandwiches to shelters/donating items, or small—paying a compliment or helping someone who needs it or paying $5 towards the next person in your coffee drive-through. I find that this can transform my energy for the day! The same applies to how we approach our choir. Whether you’ve taken on a task for another member, texted/called a Mundi, joined or hosted a social zoom, or participated in one of our first rehearsals, YOU are part of the solution for how we get through this.
Please take care… I hope to see you soon,