Faced with a pandemic, the 60-voice NJCS created a virtual season of three performances ending with May 5's "Bridge Over Troubled Water."
"The song reflects how each of us felt during this time, wanting to support the others in our NJCS family," said the NJ Choral Society's president, a Glen Rock resident and Arts Council member. "Through Zoom, we could be together, separately." The virtual performances represented its annual mainstays: a holiday concert, masterworks performance, and pops spectacular. The choir has a history of GR singers, and in addition to its president, currently features former Glen Rocker Matt Cardona, a soloist in this piece.
So how does a virtual choir rehearse? Sopranos, altos, tenors and basses would rehearse in separate 30-minute Zoom sessions every week. "We would work on one section of the song at a time; our accompanist playing the piece and all in the section singing back while muted," the president explained. Section members might be called on to sing individually. After about seven rehearsals, the entire group would meet (virtually), still muted, and get instructions on their individual recordings.
Recording a virtual performance Each singer makes a recording while listening to a "click track." Several beats are counted off at the beginning of the track and the group claps along so that the technician can then sync the videos. "We cannot all take a breath in the same place or hold on to a note longer than we should – quite a challenge," notes the prez. "Without near-perfection, syncing would not work." "Assisted by a NJ Choral Society board member and with the help of the choir's music directors and accompanist, our good-hearted technician (based in Scotland) put this together, creating what we believe is the best of our three virtual chorus videos."