September 29-March 7
What does it look like to be adventurous musically when you can’t get together to rehearse or perform?
Zoomberry is an alternative to traditional choral programs that minimizes health risks while being artistically adventurous. We’re doing the virtual choir thing, yes, but we’re going beyond that to create a new kind of choral group experience with body percussion, flying drones, big screens, and music that comforts, energizes, and challenges. This ensemble will have lively online rehearsals via Zoom, supporting all our members in meeting these new challenges, and also require independent practice and recording time. Instead of a traditional performance following weeks of rehearsals, the Zoomberry project will be documented by a local filmmaker, and the film’s premiere will be the culmination of our time together.
If you’re hungry for a chorus, willing to experiment with something unique to this time, and know already you want to join, simply click the registration button! For more information, watch the live Q&A that was recorded on September 8, and/or read the complete, thorough, very full, rather lengthy description below.
Length: 17 weeks, 90 minute rehearsals, plus filming event
Cost: $50 membership, plus optional donation
Faculty: Patricia Norton and Brenda Chien
Guest Artists: Claudia Rahardjanoto and Joey Blake
Zoomberry is a one-time only choral ensemble. Director Patricia Norton explains why:
Zoomberry is an alternative to traditional choral programs that minimizes health risks while being artistically adventurous. This ensemble will have lively online rehearsals via Zoom supporting all our members in meeting these new challenges, and also require independent practice time. We’re doing the virtual choir thing, yes, but we’re going beyond with other pieces that create a new kind of choral group experience with body percussion, flying drones, big screens, and music that comforts, energizes, and challenges.
Instead of a traditional performance following weeks of rehearsals, the Zoomberry project will be documented by a local filmmaker, including rehearsals, interviews with singers, and an in-person performance without an audience. The premiere of the finished film will culminate the project, giving us all a shareable record of our creativity and commitment to the arts in a difficult time. Zoomberry will build connections across ensembles for those who are on hiatus now, and singers will bring new skills back to their own choruses once in-person rehearsals resume.
The repertoire includes music that is designed for performance through online platforms, as well as ensemble music that is effective and satisfying with masks and distance, thereby reducing public health risks. The first piece is created exclusively for online platforms, allowing for lag time and microphone choice. The second is a lushly harmonic virtual choir project from Wales entitled “A Choir Still.” After learning the music thoroughly, clear instructions and assistance will be given to chorus members to make the individual recording process doable — possibly even satisfying! The videos will be combined to become part of the film.
Additional songs will be original works combining piano, body percussion, and humming, commissioned exclusively for Zoomberry with choreographer and musician Claudia Rahardjanoto. One is an arrangement that works with the piano piece, “Odeon”, by Ernesto Nazareth, which will be played by Brenda Chien. Body percussion parts will be grouped in six levels, from the very basic (think clapping once a measure) to the more complex — you choose the level that suits you, and lots of support will be available to help at every level, including coaching videos to support your in-home practice. In March, these songs will be performed and recorded in-person (masked and physically distanced without an audience) in Lebanon Opera House. There may be other health safety measures we take, depending on best practices at that point. People who are unable to participate in person will be projected on the large screen in a simultaneous Zoom call.
The primary goal of this project is to provide an ensemble choral experience for the many singers in the Upper Valley who are unable to rehearse in person due to the pandemic. While singing online does not replicate the experience of an in-person rehearsal, the opportunity to sing regularly, feel connection with others, and work toward a common goal of unique music will make this a rewarding experience. This is music we cannot make alone; every voice that adds to this group is essential. Singers from outside the Upper Valley area are also welcome to join.
A silver lining of this time of virtual learning is that we can work with an artist based in New York City. Claudia Rahardjanoto has extensive experience exploring the connections between music and dance with body percussion. Through Zoom rehearsals, Claudia will co-teach the body percussion pieces with Patricia and visit the Upper Valley in March for the in-person recording event. There will also be a special voice coaching with Joey Blake, voice faculty at Berklee College of Music.
So now you know lots… and you may want to know more before you register. You can watch a live Q&A session that was recorded on Tuesday, September 8 by watching the video below. If you still have more questions, please write directly to Patricia Norton at firstname.lastname@example.org.