Choruses sing again, carefully, in Philadelphia

Posted on: November 16, 2021

“Few Philadelphia music groups were more at risk during the pandemic than the choruses,” writes David Patrick Stearns in Thursday’s (11/11) Philadelphia Inquirer. “The prospect of droplets emitting from 100 singers with every ‘Kyrie eleison’ drove them to inactivity or onto the laborious Zoom process of recording and syncing … No more—but with asterisks. Protocols abound for performances and rehearsals…. In the ultimate symbolic return, Choral Arts Philadelphia gave the live premiere of Scott Ordway’s Twenty/Twenty on Wednesday … an elegiac piece written in lockdown specifically for video with words based on entries by 100 college-age choristers who were asked to complete the sentence, ‘One year ago today, I did not know that …’ Answers included, ‘…I could feel so alone … I could not embrace a friend, or stand close to strangers. …’ The piece had great emotional impact a year ago when it emerged on video. And that impact seems to be undiminished. ‘At the first rehearsal with the ensemble,’ said [Artistic Director Matthew] Glandorf, ‘we read through the piece, and singers were breaking down.’ ” Included are rehearsal and performance protocols for choruses including Variant 6, The Crossing, Mendelssohn Chorus, Singing City, and Temple University Choirs.