Yellowknife's Aurora Chorealis sings virtually after show cancelled, and it's 'really heartwarming'

As concert organizers around the world are cancelling or postponing events due to COVID-19, a Yellowknife choir found an online alternative to its spring performance.

Now anyone with an internet connection can see Aurora Chorealis perform

Margo Nightingale with the Fireweed Children's Chorus. That group was also supposed to perform at the spring concert. (Submitted by Aurora Chorealis/Meta Antolin)

As concert organizers around the world are cancelling or postponing events due to COVID-19, a Yellowknife choir found a virtual alternative to its April 9 spring performance. 

With each member in their own home, Aurora Chorealis recorded the song "North" by Ryan O'Neal and arranged by G. Chung, and posted a video performance to YouTube.

Now all of Yellowknife — and anyone anywhere with internet connection — can watch the "virtual choir" perform.

The project was put together by choir director Margo Nightingale (audio production) and choir member Keith Robertson (video production).

Idea preceded COVID-19

The idea to produce a composite choir video however, preceded the pandemic.

"It had been on our minds for a while," said Nightingale. "We were talking about ways to advertise the concert and Keith had this great idea, 'Why don't we take videos of all the singers singing one of our songs and he would mix it all together?'" 

They knew it would be a ton of work, but when the pandemic hit and other obligations disappeared, they decided this was the time to take it on.

WATCH: Aurora Chorealis sings together virtually

The singers were on board, too, said Nightingale.

"All of them were looking for some way of bringing back a sense of that togetherness, and a sense of that shared vision, and enjoying a song that they really loved."

Each singer sang from home

Each singer rigged up their phone and sang their part individually. For Robertson, hearing his voice unaccompanied by the choir was a little "funny."

"When I listened back to the video that I had made of myself singing, I was not super impressed, but I sent it away anyway and then Margo worked her magic," he said.

Margo Nightingale conducting Aurora Chorealis in St. Patrick's Co-Cathedral in Yellowknife at the choir's concert in December 2019. (Submitted by Aurora Chorealis/Meta Antolin)

Nightingale performed in her living room with her phone on a tripod.

"I tried to pretend that the choir was all in front of me, and that I would be looking at each section as they were coming in, and it felt very artificial, I will not lie, but it was also really heartwarming," she said. 

"Everyone I think probably had the same sort of feeling of being connected and yet disconnected at the same time."

Nightingale said the video is a reflection of how the choir sees itself in relation to one another, and as a group in relation to the Yellowknife community: "how much we miss each other, but yet how we are still able to be together and support each other."

"It's got a lot of meaning and a lot of layers and it's got a lot of warmth and it's been beautiful to see it come together."

Written by Sidney Cohen based on an interview with Lawrence Nayally


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