• Sandra Smith

Lockdown Blues

Updated: Jun 14, 2020

So...it's been a long time, nearly 3 months since we sang together. We last sang on March 17th and decided the risk was too great. It was a wise move, as we know of choirs that pushed on till the end of term and caught the virus. I couldn't risk my singers having damage to their lungs - without them, we have no choir - they are handpicked singers, trained, hardworking and beautiful people. So, with a heavy heart, we cancelled the last weeks of term. The songs were not finished, but just getting to the point where they where about to really lift - argh, it was SO frustrating!!!!

In the early days, I think we all thought it would blow over more quickly and we could get back to singing and making harmony. This is not to be and the outlook is uncertain.

We started by setting up the Zoom meetings, but, for us, it seemed to make us feel more isolated. The singers couldn't hear eachother, so they were just singing to themselves in their own rooms. When they were singing, I had to mute them all, because of the time delay on Zoom, so I couldn't hear them either. It was all a bit mad and maddening! It was such a sudden change and contrast to how we normally rehearse together, it was a real shock and quite dispiriting. Our ears are listening for the harmony all the time and it had all gone away! It really was quite a stressful, acute learning curve, too, we were all coping with masses of change in our lives, as well as learning these new technology skills. For a couple of weeks we tried, I dont think any of us enjoyed it! We then decided that as it was the Easter holidays anyway, we should have a break. Best decision ever!

With time to think, rest and enjoy the sun, learn how to use Zoom properly, ideas started to form!

We decided to do things that DID work on Zoom, that suited our way of working and that also improved our skill set, so that we came out of the lockdown with more tools and knowledge than when we went in.

I did a series of tutorial videos, like mini singing lessons, for each section - so that they can keep their vocal skills up. And we've been busy learning all the modes, pentatonic major and minor and Blues scales - and the singers are starting to improvise. This is where Zoom really does work, as you can try things out on your own, without being heard, Ta da!! Various singers are selecting to try out in front of us all - which is just fabulous and a lot of fun to hear. We've started up dating our warm-up exercises to include runs and riffs in all the different scales and modes.

The uptake with the choir has been great - a sliding reduced scale of payment too, as many of us have no work, others are working 24/7 and are spending all day on Zoom and are exhausted. To this end all the videos of the sessions are loaded up to our choir dropbox, so singers can watch them anytime during the week. There is a great buzz at the end of the sessions and we are all improving and feeling more confident in genres that we don't normally tackle.

We can't wait to get back to singing together, despite there being no possible performances in the near future. Once we are back, we will find ways to share our singing with you again! Till then dear friends, stay safe and well. Love from all of us in The Lost Sound

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