Online singing

BASH Zoom singing

We had the inaugural Zoom singing for Bay Area Sacred Harp this evening. Lena Strayhorn was the gracious host, and she followed Clarissa’s lead from the Seattle Zoom singing by asking people to say a little something about the tunes they chose.

Leigh did the screen sharing, and she came up with a couple of innovations that I liked. First, she shared audio only, so that while the recordings were being played you could still see all the other singers (though of course they were muted); it was nice to be able to see everyone else while we were singing to ourselves. Second, her husband Mark developed a Web app that allowed her to find recordings of the tunes online very quickly, which made everything run more smoothly.

I also enjoyed the people who chose to sing their own tunes. Of special note: the Kostka family had all four parts in their family, and led us in Rainbow; it was great fun to hear them singing for us live.

We had over 20 people on the call, so at the last moment I introduced another innovation: during our 15 minute socializing break, I randomly assigned people to breakout rooms with half a dozen others for about 10 minutes. That way, we could have actual conversations; otherwise, with 20+ people on a Zoom call, it would have been pretty chaotic.

I’m already looking forward to next month’s BASH singing.

Online singing

Seattle Zoom singing

Clarissa let me know about the Seattle Zoom singing, and for once I didn’t have an evening meeting for my job, so I decided to attend.

I was somewhat doubtful about the Zoom singings that people have been doing: get on a Zoom call, share a recording of a Sacred Harp tune, and sing along while you and everyone else is muted — where’s the fun in that? But it really was a lot of fun. First of all, you get to see people that you’ve met at past singings. Then too you get to see singers that you’ve never met before. And it was surprisingly satisfying singing along with a recording.

I was interested in how this singing was organized. Clarissa was the host, and she asked people to put their song choices in chat. Then Gillian found videos of the tunes that people chose, and sent those links to the person who did the screen sharing. I wound up doing the screen sharing of the videos for the first half of the singing, then Erik took over. Clarissa, Gillian, and Erik made it look easy. I liked the fact that Clarissa asked people to say a little something about whatever song they chose, and it was nice to hear what people had to say.

At the end, Clarissa said that there were singers from 10 different states logged in to the Zoom call.