So, I’m not going to lie. I really love Dr Bonnie Henry.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been a steadfast champion of solid science and calm, compassionate decision making. She is also a phenomenal role model for young women and budding scientists everywhere. I would willingly follow her guidance on pretty much anything, wherever that leads…
At the same time, I really love my choir and truth be told, I miss it. I have loved this choir from the moment our director put out a tentative call for singers (moms) to join a community choir in March 2018. Our weekly rehearsals bring me joy and laughter: the experience of singing together is so much more than a journey in song. We have built a community of women who strive to raise each other up, whatever the weather.
When our rehearsals were suspended, and then the rest of the term cancelled, we found solace in meeting together online. First we tried singing together, but it was a disaster! (You should try it, if you need a good chuckle, next time you’re on zoom with someone). We soon started recording clips of ourselves singing instead, to share with each other on our group chat and brighten our days. Clips, lead to songs, songs lead to parodies …
One day I was listening to the country anthem, “Jolene”, by Dolly Parton (another phenomenal woman!). It suddenly occurred to me that there were many parallels between Dolly’s plea to Jolene and our circumstance. I started to imagine what our choir might want to say to Dr Henry, given the chance. (in my mind it went something like this. Dr Bonnie Henry! We love you! We love singing! We love each other! We miss each other! We also miss singing! … but perhaps most of all … We would be devastated if group singing were taken off the table permanently! (although I think it goes without saying we would do as we were advised: none of us joined a choir in search of high-risk thrill-seeking )
I recorded a version for my choirmates whilst the dinner was in the oven, multitasking now a staple of our new work-home-school life, hoping only to raise a smile and maybe brighten yet another rainy lockdown evening.
My choirmates seized the opportunity to send our collective plea to Dr Henry and so, together with Francesca Smilgin-Box’s incredible technical skills and coordination, our first virtual performance video was born.
We have been delighted to get word that (apparently) she has viewed and perhaps even shared our video and even more delighted to hear this week that there may be ways that smaller choirs can resume distanced rehearsals safely, outside. Our spirits soared!
In the meantime, we have started recording our second virtual performance video. Not a parody this time, but a recording of the beautiful “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri, which was one of the first songs we sang together.
It will be released soon and we hope that you will check it out on our YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-RPHBflHkVQNhR_b9x-Tzg
Jenni Clark is a member of Momchoir, a North Shore treble choir made up of more than 60 local moms.