Want to sing together safely? Check out how this London, Ont. choir is doing it
Amabile Choirs recorded their Christmas concert in a parking garage
"Like everyone in the arts, we've been sorely disappointed that we can't get together," said co-conductor of the London, Ont. Amabile Men's Choir, Mark Payne.
Choir members have been meeting on Zoom since the COVID-19 pandemic began but that has its challenges, said Payne. "You can't actually sing together. One person sings, everybody else listens. You talk about what you would do, but you can't actually do it."
So Payne and founding co-artistic director Carol Beynon had a brainwave: What if the choristers met in a parking garage and sang from inside their own separate vehicles?
It worked. On Saturday, choir members met in level P2 of the Westmount Mall parking lot.
The award-winning Amabile Choirs of London, Ont. is comprised of eight different choirs and has a long-standing history in the city that began in 1985.
"We ran a number of humongously long microphone cables out to cars and put a microphone in each car for each singer," Payne explained. Next he fed each those cables into two mixing boards.
And the pièce de résistance? A little FM transmitter.
Then, once the choristers tuned into the same FM frequency, they began to sing.
"They heard each other live. I recorded each channel independently on the computer. And then it's my job to go back and mix them all together afterwards," said Payne.
"To say it's a cathartic experience is a bit of an understatement," he said.
"All the technical wizardry and all that stuff aside, the beauty of seeing their faces and having them feel each other nearby, even if they're in separate cars, was something money and time can't buy."
'Amabile Family Christmas' is available to stream between December 18th and 25th. Tickets are available online.