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Lending My Voice to Our Virtual Choir

01/12/2021 11:10:06 AM


Lorraine Kaplan

Our lives have been changed in so many ways by the pandemic. The loss of theater and live music performances has been heartbreaking to many of us. Like many others, we have been relying on home viewing of movies and TV series. The few live performances – like “Hamilton” on Disney+ -- have been highlights for my family.

As the pandemic worsened in the late spring and summer, I wondered if High Holy Day services would happen and how they would be conducted. When I heard from Kenny Lyonswright that the choir was going to participate virtually, I was excited but nervous.  Like many in my age-bracket, technology is not my strong suit. My stress was not over my ability to sing the songs or appear on video, but about the process. I pondered where to sit, look, stand, place my music and the phone to record it.

I must admit that the virtual choir was a good excuse to get dressed, put on some makeup, and get those pipes working again! I set up my devices in my office and, after a few takes, sang my first few songs for the virtual choir. I accomplished the task of recording my submissions, but I really had no idea how it would come together with the other choir members.

Little did I know how beautiful the final product would be, and how much we would truly sound like a choir singing in person. The few weeks leading up to the High Holy Days have always been meaningful to me through our rehearsals and the camaraderie among Kenny, Michael Querio, and the choir members. While it was not nearly as satisfying as seeing my choir buddies and harmonizing together, we were still able to experience that feeling of community despite the circumstances.

When I watched the online services, I was incredibly moved by so much: Kenny’s songs, the other musicians, and, of course, Sam and Carlie’s thoughtful liturgy. The choir members singing from their homes and blending so beautifully despite not being together truly moved me. Reading the positive comments from the congregation was comforting and meaningful in a way I never expected.

I certainly pray that next fall we will be back to singing together and attending services in person. For now, I am grateful that we had the opportunity to bring a bit of tradition and normality to the virtual services this year with our music. Through the hard work of our fantastic leadership team at Sukkat Shalom, we were able to share a meaningful New Year together.

Wed, November 29 2023 16 Kislev 5784