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December 2021

Hello everyone!

It’s been quite a while since I wrote for “The Director’s Corner” and with so much changed in our lives since my last post (Thanksgiving 2020!) I think it’s about time for a new one!

As I read over that 2020 post, I see that I talked about that magical moment when we could leave behind the total absence of Choral Singing and come back to in-person rehearsals. I encouraged us all to think of this ‘enforced break’ as an opportunity – a ‘holy hush’ – to renew, to reflect and to regroup.

We renewed our skills with the online Choral Boot Camp – working on vocal technique, sight reading and ear training skills, which was very much appreciated by many of our singers. Many thanks to our Section Leads for helping to make that happen!

We took this time to reflect on the changing needs of the choir. This resulted in the installment of a new Executive with new and more streamlined role definitions and the addition of several new and vibrant members who brought a new perspective that really enhanced our work. (Many thanks to Tracy T., Kody P., Emilia T., Renée J. and Dave M. for stepping up to the plate!) We also began a search for a new accompanist and were pleased to hire a wonderful new collaborative pianist; Adolfo De Santis, and also added two more section leads: Sean Pentinga (Bass 2) and Keith Loach (Tenor 2) to round out our terrific team. All of our leads have been such a shot in the arm for Village Voices during this Pandemic! They not only lead our singing at rehearsal, but have done a lot of coaching on line and in person and helped with the coaching and technical aspects of rehearsing on line.

And now we have now regrouped! It’s been such a long and uncertain road for us all! Not singing and directing the Village Voices has been such a loss for me! I know many of you have really missed it as well! But here’s the light at the end of the tunnel: Thanks to the hard work and guidance of Sue A. and her team, we were able to ascertain the positive ventilation system at UPC, the physical distancing possibilities and the importance of vaccinations and mask wearing. I am also very appreciative of the guidance of Markham Family Health Team, who assures us we are EXCEEDING all required protocols for singing together. We have also sourced a great new mask for singing: light, dry, cheap and a Level 3 protection medical mask to boot! And so, I am pleased to announce that we are getting back to in-person rehearsals!

As expected, these rehearsals are not the same as what we remember from before the pandemic. We are a small group of singers that meet in person every Wednesday and the positive spirit and dedication of this group has been so heart warming! It is surprising that we just happen to be a pretty well balanced group with five sopranos, five altos and five tenors and basses! They are really starting to sound like a wonderful little Chamber Choir and we are hopeful that if we can gain another few singers between now and the New Year, there is no reason why we can’t do a performance this spring, as long as we continue to be vigilant with the progress of this pandemic here in York Region, of course.

There are other choir members who very much miss singing with us but prefer to join on line every week. Their dedication to our organization is so much appreciated and our section leads are ever able to help them if they have any difficulties. So far they have reported that this is a pretty nice alternative for them. I am counting the days until they rejoin our group in-person, but until then, this is a great way to ‘keep abreast’ with the music we are learning so that when you do join us you feel comfortably up to date with what we have been working on! 

In performance, the “Holy Hush” is that moment of suspended time, right after the last note is sung. This is the moment before the applause begins, when the audience and the performers withhold their applause (and their breath!) as the sound of that last chord resonates throughout the concert hall. It is a rare but magical moment for audience and performers alike…but now it’s time for the hush to end and for some breathing and some applause again!!

The smiles, the laughs, the positivity, the socializing and the choral connection of the singers are a wonderful sight to behold! The music making is wonderful and improving weekly! So to all of our former members and anyone looking for a lively, friendly and musical group to perform with, please know you are welcome as soon as you are ready to join us!

– Shirley