Because choir is greater than the sum of its parts

This blogpost was written by Joan Riddle Steinmann, a high school choir teacher in the Salt Lake City (US) area. She wrote it on the 19th of March 202 as a reaction to choir rehearsal being cancel as a result of the spread of the coronavirus. On behalf of choir geeks all over the world we’d like to say to her – brilliant! This post captures the heart of what it means to sing in a choir!

Here is a link to her blogsite, “Solve for X”  where you can meet her and read the original post.

Here is the deal my friends: Unless you are singing in a room with people, it isn’t choir. Period. Choir is about connection. Choir is about 30 or 210 or 6 singers all shaping a vowel so perfectly that the overtones extend up to heaven and make the angels weep.

Choir is your college roommate, she won first place in your hometown Met auditions, and your Great Aunt Ruth, she turned 89 last month and wants everyone to know she still has her high notes. They sing together every Sunday, and the paint doesn’t peel off the walls. WHY? CHOIR. That’s why.

Choir is magical. Alone I am a soprano, but in choir I’m a tenor, and an alto, and a bass. When you sing in a choir, the sound of the WHOLE CHOIR comes out of YOUR mouth. Boom. Magic. Choir isn’t something you can do alone with a webcam on your computer. It just isn’t. Period.

So be kind to your choral friends. We are suffering. We feel this disconnect keenly. Yes we know about Eric Whitacre and his virtual choir. We love Eric; he is our token rock star and makes our whole “sport” sexier. And in these days of deadly airborne pathogens, choir is as much a contact sport as football. We will retreat to the sidelines. We will learn to use Zoom and Google Hangouts. We will record our voices, send them “Into the Unknown.”

We retreat willingly. Because at the end of the day we love Great Aunt Ruth and her questionable high notes. Her life is on the line, and choir. just. isn’t. worth. the. risk. But these days won’t last forever, my friends. We will make it through this, and when we sing together again, it will be amazing.