Novatones News

Novatones News
Type of post: "In Harmony" Newsletter
Sub-type: No sub-type
Posted By: Dick Bushell
Status: Current
Date Posted: Sun, 19 Apr 2020

Who would have guessed, even a couple of months ago, at what an incredible situation we all would suddenly find ourselves in? The COVID 19 virus has dramatically made its presence known, all around the world and is affecting every facet of human life!

Only a month ago, Novatones committee and members were keen to embark on a new decade of Barbershop singing!  This year promised to be a time of renewal, with an early plan to embark on a recruitment campaign.  Last year we had to cancel some day-time gigs due to not being able to fill some parts in the chorus, particularly tenors. We also had a number of performances already lined up. It looked a very promising year of barbershop singing, with an exciting high point being the trip to New Zealand to take part in the 2020 Pan Pac Barbershop Convention, which has now been cancelled.  All those aspirations have, at least in the short term, been curtailed due to the self-isolation restrictions caused by the COVID 19 Virus.

Due to available technology we have made the best of a bad situation.   Our committee and the group as a whole have met several times on line, using the Zoom meeting app. After some teething problems and early lack of technical expertise we have now become used to those meetings.  It’s great to be able to see everyone, to have a chat and find out what people are up to, but what we really want to is to sing together.  We have tried videoing ourselves, each singing our part while listening to a tag through headphones, but time-delay and general timing issues proved to be too difficult to make one sound file of all the chorus singing.

Our next attempt is for our director, Peter Donald to send out an email to us of him directing in time to a sound file.  Each member of the chorus will be able to hear the sound file and sing along to it, while watching Peter direct. Hopefully we will have better luck with timing issues in that approach!  We’ll get there!  Novatones are using Zoom meeting technology for other uses as well. Peter has started giving individual tuition (PVI’s) to members.  This is proving very beneficial to those who have had this tuition and it is encouraging that more members are taking part. Peter also has started teaching an online ‘learn to read music’ course for those in the group without a music background.

What else are we doing whilst still in self-isolation? We are rehearsing at home, patiently waiting until we can all get back together. One of our theatrical members Mikey, suggested we go in a competition, where the idea is to set up a posing situation at home, where we try to simulate a famous art work! Of course Mikey had to start the ball rolling- This is his depiction of James McNeill Whistler’s 1837 painting: ‘Whistler’s Mother’.   Great likeness Mikey- I think you have set the bar too high for us!  

Mark Henley Bari / Novatones Reporter