Western Reserve Chorale presents online concert June 4–6
Since last September, the Western Reserve Chorale’s (WRC) artistic director, and pianist Sara Smith, have been meeting in a large space at Church of the Saviour every Tuesday night. They are the only two in the room while all other WRC members tune in for rehearsal via Zoom.
While many music ensembles put their seasons on hiatus this past year, WRC found a way to continue to connect with one another and create music together. This effort is culminating in a virtual concert, available on YouTube June 4–6. Links for the concert can be found on the ensemble’s website, www.westernreservechorale.org.
WRC invites the community to listen to and watch its upcoming concert. “In Her Voice” celebrates the contributions of female poets, including Emily Bronte, Maya Angelou, Elizabeth Barret Browning, Sara Teasdale, and Ysaye Barnwell. Additionally, with the help of videographer Bob Sammon, images for each work, including art and poetry created by local young people, will part of the online experience.
It has been interesting and challenging to rehearse remotely as an ensemble, with the singers not able to hear one another. It’s been accomplished through careful engagement with vocal methods, utilizing techniques for approaching the music for each voice part, and providing rehearsal recordings and sound files for members to use in their preparation. The sense of community and ensemble has not diminished during this long time away from communal singing. The opportunity to socially connect with one another, as well as work toward a common goal, has been a powerful response to any sense of isolation members might otherwise have experienced.
WRC completed a series of holiday-themed video concerts in December, utilizing archived recordings from past performances, in the group’s first attempt at performing remotely. With that early success, WRC was determined to find a way to make June’s concert happen. The group wanted to fulfill expectations for the grant of support through Cuyahoga Arts & Culture for what was to have been the ensemble’s June 2020 concert,
WRC thanks all who have supported it, particularly in this most trying of years. For anyone interested in singing with a community chorale, WRC looks forward to getting back to regular rehearsals and live performances beginning in September.
David Gilson is the artistic director of the Western Reserve Chorale, director of music at Church of the Saviour, and associate dean for student affairs at the Cleveland Institute of Music.