A New Way of Singing: Virtual Choir Performance

Contributed by Dr. Minkyung Lee
NVC Assistant Professor of Voice/Director of Choral Activities

The performing arts community was shaken at the onset of COVID-19 in March when we received orders restricting stage performances and choir gathering. There were countless conference calls to determine if and how we could perform in person, and the reality facing a music director was hopeless.

When Metropolitan Opera announced that their 2020-2021 season was canceled, I knew I could not wait for a solution. I had to find the answers for myself as an instructor to lead my NVC singers during these uncertain times. The bottom line was that my singers could not perform together. So, what were the alternatives to meeting in person? How do we connect? Are these challenges worth undertaking?

There was a massive shift to the virtual space, and I understood that somehow I’d need to make this transition as well. Virtual choir meant turning to another host to put our voices together, which was a hard pill to swallow as a music director who was accustomed to directing and performing on the stage. However, I adjusted to offering new instructions to guide students through the process of recording and submitting their virtual performance, and then the process of syncing these to provide brilliant performances, and overcoming the challenges and circumstances of finding a new way of singing during the pandemic.

Northwest Vista offers two choir classes: Concert Choir and Chamber Singers. The courses are open for enrollment to anyone who loves to sing or has choir experience. Beyond having a space for lovers of singing, students find a “choir family” when they join these groups. NVC singers have a uniquely special bond, and have demonstrated kindness and generosity over the years. We are so proud of each member of the NVC music family. All NVC singers embraced the challenge of virtual choir together with courage and grace. I cannot express enough gratitude for our amazing Fine Arts dean, Karla Ellis, and music coordinator, Daniel Smith, who helped me to develop a program that is meaningful and provides a place for the NVC singers to remain connected through a virtual choir. We successfully had three watch parties this semester. See the links and videos below.

I want to thank the NVC singers from the bottom of my heart for the love and support you have given me since I became your virtual instructor in March. Although I did not expect the twists and turns of this journey, I can honestly say I would not trade a minute of my time as your instructor/director of Voice and Choir. Of course, I wish our semester hadn’t required this dramatic shift, but I am so happy that we all are healthy and in a safe place. I am confident that NVC music will continue to feed off my optimism that life and music will go on. There is an eagerness to provide the best possible virtual choir program where all singers can gather and work together until the day we can return to our beautiful campus.

NVC Virtual Choir Performance
NVC Concert Choir and Chamber Singers 








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