Saturday was a big day at Glee HQ – it was our first ever online choir rehearsal.
I have to admit I’ve been a bit reluctant to take Glee fully online (more about that in a future post) but finally admitted if we were to plan to perform later in the year, some online rehearsals were going to be necessary.
Our plan is to start online, slowly move into rehearsals where we have some singers in the room and some following along at home on zoom and then (fingers crossed) we’ll be able to rehearse all together in time for our performance in late August.
The Glee Plus group who we rehearsed with on Saturday are more like a “normal” choir than our weekly Glee Club singalong sessions where anyone can rock up and join in. At Glee Plus you sign up for a season (this one is 12 weeks long), rehearse every week and perform at the end of the season. It’s not auditioned but singers do need to commit to learning the songs.
Most of our singers return season after season and our quality and confidence of singing is constantly improving, if I do say so myself! I’m very proud of the performances Glee Plus have given and certainly feel like I have their support and encouragement.
Which is good because I have to admit I felt nervous as to how our rehearsal on Saturday would go. But I didn’t need to be, it was an absolute delight! And there are actually some big wins from rehearsing on zoom.
Here are the things I loved:
- The whole rehearsal can be recorded for people who can’t attend. With the busy people at Glee Plus this is often a reasonable proportion of the singers. I’ve given up worrying about attendance long ago but it is great that they will be able to catch up with exactly what happened.
- Seeing everyone pets joining in the rehearsals (or being cross at their owners for joining in the rehearsals) is a delight!
- Giving singers the confidence to sing loud and proud without having to worry about what the other singers think. I am constantly reminding our singers that mistakes are fine and we never give each other “side-eye” but still it’s nice for the singers to be completely free to make mistakes loudly without worrying at all what anyone might think.
- We don’t have to pay bar prices for our drinks at break time (which we like to call Wine Time at Glee Plus!)
But there are certainly some challenges with the online rehearsal that will stop me ever considering doing this again (unless another pandemic swings around and let’s hope that doesn’t happen!)
It made me very aware of how much I respond to how things are going in the room. For example it’s hard to have a real sense of whether a section needs to be repeated before moving on. I feel lucky I know the choir so well and have a good sense of their “flow” but it’s still challenging.
I suspect when we do get back together that everyone will confidently know their individual lines and be very excited to get to hear their individual pieces as part of the big puzzle. But it may take us some time to get these individuals “hanging together” in a group sound again. Learning something as a team means that little nuances of rhythmic variation and intonation get naturally smoothed out during the learning process and I wonder how much of this work we’ll be doing very late in the rehearsal process.
And of course nothing will ever replace the little bit of magic dust that gets sprinkled into the air when we all sing in harmony together. That’s what we love about singing in choirs and is irreplaceable. I can’t wait to do it again.