During the pandemic, choirs have not been able to sing together or perform in the same room because of the risk of spreading Covid-19.
Some choirs are doing “virtual” singing by recording the music individually on cell phones or laptops at home, then having it all mixed together by the sound engineer to make a virtual choir.
However, according to Daytona Beach Choral Society singer Donna Lovelace-Flora, they are doing “car choir” rehearsals in Ormond Beach to learn and rehearse music for their spring performance which will be aired at the CMX Daytona Luxury 12 Movie Theater at One Daytona March 24.
The choir is meeting weekly in their cars at a designated location, and using wireless microphones; each singer sings (alone) in his/her car. Each voice can be heard through the radio, so everyone can hear each other, the accompanist and choir director.
“Since September, we’ve worked on a Veteran’s Day virtual choir project (recording parts from home) and are now working together in our 'car choir,'” said Chrystal Heidemann, society president. “About this time last year, we were getting ready to sing our spring concert and that’s when everything started shutting down. We decided to play it safe and cancel our concert. We hoped that in September when our fall season started, we could sing together again but that didn’t happen.”
Ms. Heidemann described how 12 singers put together a Veteran’s Day patriotic piece virtual choir style, but then the car choir idea came.
“I started looking online and there were some choirs in Massachusetts that were doing this car choir idea,” she said. “It’s a way that we can interact. You couldn’t get that from the virtual choir project that we were doing.”
The car choir practices with 12 members started in February. The weekly rehearsals are recorded using smaller groups of singers. They recorded as a full group March 14 at Ormond Beach Presbyterian Church. A few singers are doing virtual only, but they can be mixed into the recording using audio recording software and digital editing to match it all up. The accompaniment will probably be pre-recorded.
“The CMX Luxury 12 Movie Theater at One Daytona has been hosting community groups as kind of like an outreach program showcasing their work in their lobby on Wednesday nights,” Heidemann said. “So, they reached out and we thought that was perfect. We’ll have a tabletop presentation with a slide show and I’ll be talking about how we’ve been working through this (pandemic).”
Some singers will be present in the courtyard of the theater to sing along with their prerecorded movie-themed virtual concert at 6:30 p.m. March 24. They may also have a prerecorded mini concert video available, showcasing what they have done over the past year. Both are slated to be available on YouTube and Facebook. It will include a medley of songs from MGM, such as “Over the Rainbow” and “Singing in the Rain,” and Disney songs, including ones from “Toy Story,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Little Mermaid.”
Ms. Heidemann has been part of the group for four years after moving from Nashville. She said she wanted to start singing again and with rehearsals near her home in Ormond-by-the-Sea, it was convenient. She stepped in as president two years ago, a voluntary position. There are a total of 25 members of the society, but new members are always welcome and encouraged to join.
She emphasized the car choir concept is how the group has been able to keep singing together throughout “this coronavirus mess.” Ms. Heidemann hopes to collaborate events with other groups in the future. She said “before Covid happened, we did two concerts a year at the same place. This kind of opened up all these new opportunities.”