Even with the absence of live performances due to the pandemic, York University’s McLaughlin College Community Choir (MCCC) continues to make music, enjoy each other’s company and produce recorded music.
Since September 2020 and the start of the 2020-21 academic year, MCCC has been holding its regular Wednesday evening rehearsals from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. via Zoom Pro. During that time, MCCC has managed to produce three videos and to widen its repertoire while attracting new members to its fold.
Choir Director Sebastian Moreno, a recent graduate of York University’s Master’s of Music Degree Program, stated, “The switch to online rehearsals and our choir members having to do individual recordings of their parts has been a major adjustment for our choir. The dramatic change to become a ‘virtual choir’ has not been an easy or straightforward one for our choristers or admittedly myself.”
Moreno said taking individual recordings of 15 to 20 of the members of the choir and blending them into a single recorded choral piece required the use of special programs and equipment. However, he noted that the product, in the end, was well worth the time and effort.
“All the members of our community choir miss being able to perform before a live audience. But, our recordings have been included in a number of McLaughlin College’s traditional annual events such as the Robbie Burns Night and Poetry Contest,” he said.
There are also plans to include MCCC recordings at this year’s special evening for all the students at McLaughlin College, on March 25 during the Year-End Student Special Event.
“What we are most delighted about,” Moreno said, “is that we continue to attract new members to the MCCC, despite the challenges of being a virtual community choir.”
Moreno noted that MCCC is a true community of York University students, staff and faculty members who enjoy both making music and each other’s companionship. “We have really come together as a social group, as not only associates but friends. We are getting to know each other, and we like to celebrate our individual milestones such as birthdays, personal achievements, large and small.”
The Head of McLaughlin College, James C. Simeon, added, “McLaughlin College’s community choir is filling an important role of bringing the members of our College and the broader York University community together during this pandemic. When we are staying home and maintaining our social distance, often isolated from others, having social connections through a common enjoyable past time is, I think, essential.”
Simeon further noted the McLaughlin College community is pleased that MCCC has been able to continue throughout the University ‘lockdown’ and at the same time draw in new members. He went on to say that everyone is welcomed to join, and no auditions or experience is necessary.
To view and hear some of the MCCC videos, visit the choir’s YouTube channel; more information about the MCCC can be found on its Facebook page and/or by emailing Moreno at firstname.lastname@example.org.