Learning to sing in a pandemic: Tomorrow’s Virtual Voices

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In an interview with Onside Media, Todd Green, Founder, Tomorrow’s Voices Foundation shared his views about how Tomorrow’s Voices is staying busy during the pandemic.

November 18, 2020, Toronto: Tomorrow Voices received their charitable organization designation in June 2019 and has been gradually growing ever since. Tomorrow’s Voices now operates three chapters in the Niagara Region, Hamilton and Toronto. These are headed by professional Choir Directors Mendelt Hoekstra, Samantha Kadet and Melissa Lauren. Children between the age groups of 7 and 18 years come together once a week and learn how to sing as a choir.

Tomorrow's Voices
Tomorrow’s Voices

But what do you do, when you are operating a not-for-profit- children’s choir, that meets and sings every week and the world goes into a lockdown?

“It has been difficult not only for us adults, but also for the young children who look forward to meet their friends and sing together in person. The rehearsals are small joys of the adults’ lives and for our choir kids, this was one of their most fulfilling activities they look forward to each week.” says Todd Green, Founder, Tomorrow’s Voices.

BEST BUY donating two Chromebooks to Todd Green

The organization’s problem was that they couldn’t meet up in person due to the pandemic restrictions in place. To continue being heard, Tomorrow’s Voices launched Virtual Voices, an online choir rehearsal via Zoom. Moving to a virtual platform caused a few issues related to ability to unreliable devices or lack of access to computers. Fortunately, through a partnership with Best Buy in St Catharines, two brand new Chromebooks were donated to help out the kids.

Tomorrows Voices- Virtual Choir Poster
Tomorrows Voices- Virtual Choir Poster

The bigger challenge was teaching the children to sing in unison, while all on mute, in a virtual environment. The regional Choir Directors tackled this challenge step-by-step. The children would break out into smaller groups, connect with one of the volunteers who support the choir and get to sing their parts individually. The kids are also learning music theory and playing fun games like freeze dance where they dance their hearts out to a song they selected and then have to freeze when the choir director turns off the song.

Kids with donated Chromebook

In past seasons, the kids have sung in person at concerts, music festivals, and sporting events with artists such as Dan Mangan, Chantal Kreviuzak, Serena Ryder, Ria Mae, Scott Helman, Royal Wood, and Neko Case. While live events and concerts are not feasible now, in order to enhance the virtual learning experience, local artists have been invited to join the Zoom meetings. Last month, folk-inspired singer/songwriter Katey Gatta joined Virtual Voices and made the children’s Friday night extra special.

Folk-inspired singer/songwriter Katey Gatta performing virtually for Tomorrow's Voices
Folk-inspired singer/songwriter Katey Gatta performing virtually for Tomorrow’s Voices

“With Virtual Voices and support from local artists, our choir is gradually setting its digital footprint. With our recent growth in Ontario, we are looking forward to connect with music directors who could help children in other cities in Ontario and other provinces to learn the art of music,” adds Todd Green.

Being a registered charitable organization directed towards the arts, individuals and corporations help them stay afloat through donations. At the beginning of the pandemic the Board of Directors made a conscious decision of not accepting donations. They realized that other organizations providing food security, PPEs, masks and safety training required the maximum support.

 

After 8 months of the pandemic, Tomorrow’s Voices have begun accepting donations to support the children during the holiday season.

 

To donate please visit: https://tomorrowsvoices.ca/support/

 


This story authored by  Yugbodh, for The Onside Media, Toronto, Canada. If you have stories to share kindly email: – info@theonside.com