If your area is starting to come out of a lockdown, you might be thinking about when you can go back to in-person rehearsals with your community choir.
If you’re like me, then you may have been running online zoom sessions for nearly a year now. My choir community have made it work. I’m super lucky to have loyal members who have supported me, as I tried out new ways of working.
But if you are feeling the gentle pressure from the choir leader community or your singers to return quickly, here are 5 reasons why staying online might be a good choice for you….
1. You are now running a national or even international choir….
…..from your front room. You may have promoted, or even attracted, people to your choir from locations way beyond your local area. These people have signed up to be with you because of the fantastic service you are offering. I have alumni members who have rejoined my choir since we have been running online. Online does allow you to cast a wider net for new members.
2. Your members are geographically isolated.
Do you have members in your choir who come from a town or village where there is no physical choir to sing with? Perhaps they have discovered the community that an online choir can give. The joy of singing with other people when not available to them locally. You are providing a great service to people who would not geographically be able to access a choir in person.
3. Your members are socially isolated.
Anxiety and depression, illness, disabilities are but a few reasons why someone might be housebound. One of the first things they lose are their social connections. Online choirs can provide a safe space for people to interact with others, within the safety and accessibility of their own home. Participation can be determined on the singer’s own terms: they can turn cameras off and remain fully muted if they want to.
4. Your members work irregular work patterns…
….such as shift work or perhaps are caring for another person, so may not be able to commit to a regular rehearsal day and time. One of the benefits of online choirs is the ability to stream and/or record the sessions for your members to access afterwards, when they can and want to. Some people have even created online choirs around sending their members prerecorded videos via email each week. Singers sometimes submit prerecorded audio tracks. It may feel as if choir has been de-constructed, however in doing so the opportunity has been constructed for some.
5. You’ve discovered that some parts of the choir leader life are in fact easier when online and you like it!
There is less physical loading and set up of equipment. You don’t need to drive to a venue, in fact you don’t even need to worry about a venue. For choir leaders who might themselves suffer from physical issues such as fatigue, an online choir can be a great way to keep sharing your love of singing with the community, on your own terms.
What ever you choose…..
……think about what is best for you, as well as your members. Online choirs are here to stay now, and as the technology platforms improve, so will the quality of the online offering. If you decide to run an online choir, own it fully, being proud of the fact that you are being innovative and venturing into new ways of music making. Online choirs will help break down barriers for those who are isolated, bringing people together to form a new types of singing communities.