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9 Things We Learned from Our First Virtual Rehearsal

GUEST BLOG: Jennifer Cooke, Director, Scenic City Chorus

Our rehearsal model has shifted during this period of social distancing: we are called to be creative with our abilities and resources. This can be difficult - but I'm keeping as much "normalcy" as I can so that the online rehearsals are just an extension of what we usually do on Monday nights!

Our first virtual rehearsal went very well. Of our 60+ member chorus, around 50 joined in. The comment section was absolutely hilarious, and they were able to ask questions utilizing the comment section -- I would answer those online as I received them. Since we hold our rehearsals on Facebook Live and post to our private chorus Facebook page, members are able to go back and review it over the week. We will definitely be continuing this format for the next few weeks, at least!

Things that went well

  • We used Facebook Live rather than Zoom. So the members connected through comments, even though they couldn't see each other.
  • We had recent rehearsal recordings that were up-to-date, so we could practice with our best current sound.
  • Our choreographer was able to lead a section of the rehearsal from her home, as well.
  • We had learning tracks for our new song, so I was able to use those tracks to teach the song to all parts.
  • One of our members volunteered to be the "tech help" for our members, and we had no idea how busy she would be -- very glad she thought of that, or we would have been trouble-shooting technical stuff for the first part of the rehearsal.”

Things that we will be updating/changing

  • There was a lag time for members when they tried to get on our choreographer's broadcast. We're going to build in 5-minute transition times when someone else takes over in rehearsal.
  • We're going to add a watch party where we watch and comment on last year's competition video and videos of high-standard performances of other choruses.
  • We usually have an education segment in our rehearsal -- one member of our education team will be broadcasting this week.
  • We may try a "social time" on zoom after rehearsal, just like when you go out to eat afterward -- a time for people to actually see each others' faces and converse. It should be fun and also a hot mess!”

about the author

Jennifer Cooke started singing barbershop music at a young age with her mom, dad, and sister, in Marion, OH. She brought this love of four-part harmony with her to Nashville, TN, where she lives with her husband, Chris, who is an accomplished musician. Jen sings lead with the Region 14 Sweet Adelines champion quartet, Presto! and Area 5 Harmony, Inc. champion quartet Swing Theory. She has achieved the level of Certified Director, through Sweet Adelines, International, and she has been a front-line director with the Scenic City Chorus since the fall of 2009. A long-time educator, she joined the BHS Harmony University faculty in 2018.