What is a “virtual choir”?
A virtual choir is a video made from many individual videos and mixed together to sound–and look–like one big choir. In addition to the video above, here’s another example of what a “virtual choir” video looks like.
Why are we doing a Virtual Choir?
Until we can meet again in person, this is a way we can create music together and stay connected. We have regularly scheduled online rehearsals, and finish our season with a video of us all singing the same song in harmony.
When does this take place?
Rehearsals run for four straight weeks, with a two-week break in between sessions. Our next session will start September 7 and conclude the week of September 28. During this 4-week time period, there is an online rehearsal one night per week. In pre-COVID times, we met in person at various locations around the country. Now, we meet virtually – which means anyone can join us, from anywhere! You still choose a group to sing with, but that’s really just for enrollment/payment purposes. For example, the default group to join (Tony Lechner’s group) meets on Tuesday nights from 7:00-8:30pm, but again – that doesn’t mean you have to watch that night. After the rehearsal is over, it is posted to that choir’s Facebook page where members can watch later, as many times as they like. This kind of flexibility can accommodate anyone’s schedule and makes it easy to participate.
Can anyone join Rock Voices’ Virtual Choir?
Yes! Whether you have sung with Rock Voices before or not, you can join us. And Rock Voices is a no-audition choir, so you can just sing with us, no pressure at all.
How long will virtual choir mini-sessions keep happening?
It’s becoming clear that, due to the pandemic, we won’t be returning to business-as-usual anytime soon. In light of this, Rock Voices is reinventing itself as an online-only phenomenon for the foreseeable future.
We’ve been so impressed with the audio quality of the recordings people have been sending in for our virtual videos (Lean On Me and most recently Shed A Little Light, Sailing) that we will use the same process to make an audio CD.
This will be a year-long project. Every month will be a new mini-session focusing on a different song, taught by our fearless Rock Voices directors. You don’t have to sing every month to be on the CD. Each song will be a unique group of people who happen to be singing in that session.
Members learn remotely, record themselves at the end of the session, and submit recordings which we will mix into a finished CD. Keep in mind that at one song per month, this will take roughly one year to complete, but the end result will be amazing. (We offer a sliding scale to make sure this opportunity is available and accessible to all!)
I’m already a member of Rock Voices. Can I still learn from my usual choir director?
In most cases, yes. And if your specific choir isn’t holding these virtual rehearsals, you can sign up and participate with our founding director, Tony Lechner. Just like our regular rehearsals, all choirs work on the same song at the same time.
What does this cost?
We realize that the current economic climate is tough on everyone, and we want to make sure this amazing, fun, rewarding experience is available to everyone, regardless of your personal situation. So we’re offering a sliding scale from $20-$60 as the cost to participate in the mini-session. It can be paid all at once or in weekly installments. This fee is greatly reduced compared to our regular (in-person) seasons because we don’t want money to stand in the way of anyone enjoying Rock Voices. Of course, if you’re able and would like to pay more, we’ll gratefully accept donations above what we’re asking!
All incoming tuition is used to pay the directors, print sheet music, and cover the costs of professional audio/video editing, as well as Rock Voices’ operating costs.
Is financial aid available?
For anyone who would have a hardship paying even the lower end of the sliding scale, click here to request a scholarship.
How does this work?
You enroll in one of the mini-sessions (details below) and choose a payment plan. You have to do both of these steps, and then an email confirmation will be sent to you, along with information on how to access the virtual rehearsals in a private Facebook group, and how to download customized recordings for your voice part (soprano, alto, tenor, or bass).
All our sessions start at 7PM local time, but the sessions are archived so that even if you can’t join us “live”, you can play the rehearsal any time you want to. For four sessions, you learn with one of Rock Voices’ established directors. You observe them directing the song, and you sing your part at the same time that everyone else is singing their part – in your respective homes, so you won’t be able to hear or see each other at rehearsals. Some directors also do “sectional” rehearsals, which are an optional portion of a rehearsal focused on specific voice parts.
After a couple of rehearsals, you are given instructions on how to record yourself, singing your part of the song’s harmonies. When you are done, you upload that recording using a simple link we send you, and that’s it!
Is there sheet music?
Yes! Since we can’t email music digitally, we distribute copies of the sheet music to everyone who wants it. This involves volunteers from the different choir locations bringing stacks of music to central spots where members can pick up a copy with minimum contact. Once you enroll in the season you receive an email with details on where and when to pick up your copy.
Great! How do I get started?
Simply go to our enrollment site, rockvoices.pike13.com – we are using that site so we can keep track of members, and send you a weekly email about the upcoming rehearsal. If you’re already a member of Rock Voices, this site is familiar to you; it’s the one we’ve been using for the last four seasons. If you’re new to this experience, you’ll need to sign up first, creating a new login and password. Then, choose a choir to “join”. Typically you’d pick a choir near you, but for this virtual arrangement, you can sing with any choir you want.
Need help understanding the process?