From the Music Ministry….

How Hard Can It Be?

Have you seen those wonderful videos of virtual choirs and music ensembles posted on YouTube? I have seen several and wondered if the Sanctuary Choir at Parkway Baptist could do one each week for our virtual worship service. I thought, “I’m a smart guy. I’m technologically savvy. We have gifted musicians. How hard could it be?” So I searched on YouTube (where you can find how to do anything) and, sure enough, found a video entitled, “Virtual Choir Tutorial: the VERY BASIC Version” by Julie Gaulke (https://youtu.be/XuWgXGIByAw). It was just under 3 minutes long. Perfect. Below is a narrative of me watching the video tutorial and some of my internal dialogue as I watched.

Video time 0:26 – “What You Need. Video editing software.”
Me – “Well that’s a problem. Although I do have access to video editing software through Kennesaw State University, I’m not that familiar with it. Also, has anyone ever been arrested and/or fined for using state property for non-state business? Probably not. It will be OK. We’re nice people.”

Video time 1:00 – “What Choir Members Need. A video recording device.”
Me – “OK. Computers and/or smart phones are listed as video recording devices. Most choir members have one of those. Although, I wonder if everyone will be comfortable working the technology and making a video recording of themselves singing by themselves. What about different lighting levels and recording levels and quality? It could still work . . . maybe.”

Video time 1:55 – “Separate the audio from the video files uploaded by each choir member to a shared drive online . . . “
Me – “This is a problem. How long is it going to take to separate the audio from the video files uploaded by each choir member?”

Video time 2:33 – “Edit each video to sync with the Master Audio file you created from each singer by editing each audio file . . .”
Me – “Sheesh! That will take hours! Oh well. It seemed like a good idea.” [Stop video].

My suspicions were confirmed about this being a more involved process than I first thought when I came across a blog post written by Katie Wardrobe with the title, “Dear Music Teachers: Please Stop Asking How To Create A Virtual Choir Video” ( https://midnightmusic.com.au/2020/03/dear-music-teachers-please-stop-asking-how-to-create-a-virtual-choir-video/). The blog post begins with these statements, “I say this to you all with love. A LOT of love. I want to save you the heartache of planning such a project, researching the method, announcing it to your students and then discovering it’s an exhausting project and it’s taking MANY hours of work. There is no magic app.”

While I continue to explore music options for our virtual worship services, I have given up on the idea of asking choir members and myself to make a virtual choir video. Maybe if we had a dedicated Minister of AV Production/Technology, the needed budget and software, and choir members savvy with the latest technology. For now, I am just going to have to be satisfied with what we are doing for virtual worship music and continue to pray an effective COVID-19 vaccine is produced soon so we can all safely rehearse and sing together in person.

Those virtual choir videos are still impressive. Below are some of my favorites.

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir, “Lux Aurumque.” Music: Eric Whitacre.

Harrison Sheckler, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Words and music: Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein.

The Podd Brothers, “How Can I Keep from Singing.” NYC Virtual Choir and Orchestra. Music: Robert Lowry; Arrangers: Adam & Matt Podd.

And two just for fun.

Hugh Hodgson School of Music Graduation Celebration 2020, “Graduation and Georgia Medley.” Members of the 2020 School of Music Graduating Class. Cameron Gwynn (senior), arranger. Go Dawgs!

The Actor’s Fund, “You Can’t Stop the Beat” – from the musical Hairspray. Words and music: Marc Shaiman and Scott Whittman.

Stay Safe and Hopeful