The monthly Zoom singing is becoming routine (and who would have thought we’d ever say something like that?). It’s a pleasure to see people, even if it’s only via videoconference. It’s a good way to remind myself to sing. And this month’s Zoom singing was routinely pleasant and sociable.
We had a good turnout on tonight’s Zoom singing: I counted 30 people on about 24 log-ins, from five U.S. states and one foreign country. The foreign country was Turkey, where former stalwart Bay Area Sacred Harp singer Yuka has moved, and it was very good to see her again.
Leigh has gotten really good at using Mark’s Web app to find field recordings for us to sing to, and a couple of times she found a field recording led by the person who chose the tune.
Leigh has gotten so good — and it’s so interesting to hear the different field recordings — that most people let her find the song. But Paul and Lorraine and their children Sarah and John sang all four parts of the tune they chose. I have to admit I got a little choked up listening to them — it seems like it’s been a long time since I heard them singing together like that at one of our local Palo Alto singings.
All in all, it was a good evening. If you had told me eight months ago that I would find it satisfying to be on a Zoom call with 30 other people and sing along to a field recording, I’d have said you were nuts. But seeing all those other singers, and chatting during the break, was a big improvement over the usual COVID isolation. Also, I have to admit I find it hard to motivate myself to sing much at all any more, but this gets me singing — and of course once I sing I feel so much better, and resolve to sing all the time, and never do.
When we were singing in person, pre-pandemic, we used to say, “That was a good singing”; by which we meant, the singing was heartfelt, there were strong leaders, the selection of tunes was sensitive to the singers. So what criteria do we use to judge a Zoom singing, where mostly we listen to a recording and sing along?
Pat challenged us tonight by pointing out that in other Zoom Sacred Harp singings, most of the songs are led by someone in the group singing their part as a solo. Traditionally, if you lead a Sacred Harp tune, you’re supposed to sing tenor, but Pat said that is not true in Zoom singings. He went on to add that singing along to something other than the tenor part has been a way for him to better hear how his part (he sings tenor) meshes with another individual voice.
A couple of our singers took Pat’s challenge, and led tunes by singing their part solo. I was especially impressed with Lena’s singing: it was heartfelt, it was easy to follow her while singing my part, and the tune she chose was sensitive to the other singers. On that basis, I can say that tonight’s singing was indeed a good singing.