We did virtual performances, singalongs, shared videos, etc., but it was a long 18 months. Fortunately, the choir was able to begin singing together (masked) in September of 2021, using a hybrid format that allowed members to follow along from home via Zoom if they were ill or uncomfortable with singing in person. I was on sabbatical that autumn and the choir was led by one of Calgary’s most able singers and choral directors, Paul Grindlay.
Here’s hoping that the new 2022-23 choir season feels like a return to normal. Vocal Latitudes community choir in Calgary has been around since 2005 and we’ve seen and done a lot. But the pandemic was a whole new level of challenge for our choral community.
When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, we stopped rehearsing in person. After all, one of the first mass transmission events occurred at a choir rehearsal in Washington State. Moving online proved to be challenging.
We did continue to meet via Zoom, quickly realizing that we would have to change our way of doing things.
I returned to the choir this past winter/spring and we performed our first live concert in over two years in May. What a joy that was!
What has kept us going was the sense of community that Vocal Latitudes prides itself on. We have always been a welcoming, friendly group. While we enjoy singing a wide range of music and always seek to improve our performances, we put an equal emphasis on having fun and being together in song.
But it’s also true that we saw our numbers shrink during the pandemic, understandably. Now we are looking forward to a renewed choir and a 2022-23 season full of fun, singing and performance opportunities.
For the fall session (we divide the year into two parts, singing different repertoires), I’m excited about a couple of brand new songs. Vocal Latitudes (as the name implies) have always been up for the challenge of singing in many languages. (We’ve lost count of the number). This fall we’ll sing in Ladino again with a lovely arrangement of a lullaby from Flory Jagoda, Durme Durme. And we will sing a gorgeous song from Cuba in Spanish called Sigue. As well, there will be some seasonal and Christmas repertoire, a bit of jazz, pop, and South African song as well. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
And the winter/spring session will highlight the work of Canadian choral composers and songwriters.
And I’m delighted to announce that our long-time accompanist Faye White will be returning to the choir as well.
So, things are looking up. We will continue to exercise caution regarding public health, and we will continue to offer the option of participating in Vocal Latitudes via Zoom. We would love to have you join us.
We will start up on September 13, 2022, at 7:30 pm at Calgary Unitarians, 1703 1st St. NW, Calgary.
We’re a non-auditioned choir. You don’t need choral experience or to be able to read music. If you can carry a tune, we can teach you the rest. We invite you to join our Calgary community choir.