I love to sing. It is challenging, it builds community and it has the potential to bring great beauty into the world. I sing with Masterworks Chorale, a local community chamber choir.
Unfortunately, singing is one of the very best ways to spread COVID-19, so my choir hasn’t met in person as a group since last March. This was a week before our spring concert, featuring Bach’s Cantata 36, was scheduled.
It was a sad spring, but singers are resourceful. Some choirs created virtual performances that were quite lovely, like this setting of Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus. The Toledo Choral Society produced it last summer as part of its 100th anniversary season.
While virtual choirs are innovative, being part of one is a basically a solo experience. The musicians sing along to a recording while recording their own vocal parts. Then, a technician combines the separate vocal tracks into a choral piece.
My choir decided that singing together in person was priority. By the end of the summer, when it was clear that we weren’t getting together in a choir room anytime soon, we made plans to see how we could sing together without putting each other at risk.
The choir purchased wireless microphones and a shortwave radio transmitter. Singers, in groups of six to eight, gathered in a church parking lot. Using the microphones in their separate cars, they sang together, listening to each other through their car radios.
It was challenging. The technology took some getting used to and singing from a car seat is not optimal, especially if the conductor is some distance away. But being in the same place, making beautiful music together, was worth it!
You can hear the results by tuning into the Masterworks Chorale Youtube page. There, you’ll find a link to our virtual chamber choir performance, created from recordings we made during our fall drive-in rehearsals.
If you need something to listen to in the meantime, you can find a wealth of music on Freegal, an online music resource provided by the Toledo Lucas County Library which links you to a vast archive of recorded music to stream.
Freegal is similar to apps like Spotify and Youtube, but without the ads. To access, use your library card and pin number. You can listen through a computer browser or download the app to your smartphone.
I found that browsing for choral music was a little tricky because choral works are listed in the vast classical music section in Freegal. I had success searching for titles of choral works. When I found a choral piece I liked, I checked out other works on the same album. You can also search by artist (the performing choir), composer, or song title.
Here is an album from Freegal which includes the Bach cantata that my choir was preparing before the world shut down:
Though I enjoy singing with an orchestra, I prefer a cappella choral music. Here is a playlist I created in Freegal called A Cappella Choral Gems.
Have fun creating your own playlists! You can share them from your computer by copying and pasting the url on the playlist page.
And remember, other library customers may share your musical interests. Share your playlist with other Library customers! Check out playlists other Toledo Library customers have created in the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library Playlists section.
If choral music is not your style, do not despair. There is music from every genre on Freegal. You are bound to find something you can groove to.
Find a song you really like? Freegal allows you to download 5 songs a week so you can store them on your computer or phone. Have them at hand for a music break even if you are not in range of wi-fi.
Need help with Freegal or our other online resources? Give us a call at 419-259-5200. We are here to help!