Eight months ago, I joined my chorus and the Society.
I felt like I had just started to hit my stride when the pandemic started. I performed in our chorus’ Christmas shows. I had visions of attending my first Harmony University, competing in my first district contest, and immersing myself in the great culture of our Society.
Then, the COVID-19 pandemic happened, and as I realized the seriousness of the situation and the impact it would have on those visions, I was sad.
During one of those days while we were all still figuring out what a “new normal” might look like, I thought back to why I joined my chorus in the first place: to have fun, to be challenged, and to bring joy to my life and to the lives of others. Was it possible to keep doing that if we couldn’t be physically together in the rehearsal hall or on stage?
From that time forward, I focused on looking for that joy anywhere I could. I quickly realized that I didn’t need to look very hard… it was all around me.
(1) At my chorus’ virtual rehearsals, we’ve been able to spend time truly studying our music at a much deeper level, identifying “trouble spots,” asking questions, and working through it slowly so we can learn to sing it perfectly. We have had as many members participate in our virtual rehearsals as had attended our live rehearsals before the pandemic started.
(2) We have had some enlightening guest speakers come to our virtual rehearsals to give us their perspective on barbershopping and the impact it has had on their lives.
(3) After each virtual rehearsal, we have a virtual afterglow where we grab our favorite beverage and have some social time. These afterglows have given me the chance to get to know some of the other men in our chorus much better, and they have learned more about me too. When in person rehearsals resume someday, I know I will have a much better connection with them.
(4) We got together and created a virtual choir so that we could bring happiness and a brief escape – to ourselves and our families, friends, followers, and fans.
(5) On a personal note, I learned how to do multi-track tags using the Acapella app, recorded 12 of them so far, and have become involved in an awesome community over at the Barbershop Tags Facebook group. I don’t know if I ever would have discovered this before.
Would I rather be on the risers with my friends preparing for the next show or competition? Of course.
But... through all of this, I learned that our mindset is a choice. If we look closely enough, we can always find the joy.
Author Michael Testa sings lead with the Ambassadors of Harmony, St. Charles, MO chapter.