When the coronavirus pandemic emerged in early spring, many familiar student traditions and activities were shut down on the Tabor campus.
The Tabor Choir Spring tour was amongst the disruptions. But Gregory Zielke, choir conductor, began to envision a virtual choir. Without the usual bus tour singing at churches and schools, Zielke thought, “lets broaden the audience with a virtual choir number.”
The process involved individuals singing their part to a choral piece, recording so the timing of their performance matches everybody else’s video –how to breathe, how to sing the right dynamics and tone.
Zielke chose to perform the song, “The Moon Is Distant from the Sea,” based on a poem by Emily Dickinson.
“It was a piece we knew,” Zielke said. “Because the choir had rehearsed this song, they could naturally record their own video.”
Zielke noted, “The process for the singers was a bit complicated because they needed two or three devices in order to make this happen – a phone, a laptop and an iPad.”
David Martens, director of contemporary music, provided technical expertise to the process, which involved extracting the audios, mixing them together and creating a choir from the videos. Michael Klaassen, digital content manager, took the videos, arranged them on the screen and put it all together.
“I would imagine there was easily 80 hours of work between the two of them,” Zielke said. “The resulting virtual choir video certainly points to the creative genius that can emerge from challenges. I think the result is really beautiful.”