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VHU Virtual Choir is back and better than ever

VHU Virtual Choir is back and better than ever

A rockin' chart, energetic director, dozens of friends to sing with — a great way to make some music in a new way!

Hello, Fellow Barbershop Friend!

Katie Macdonald, Virtual Choir project leader
Katie Macdonald, Virtual Choir project leader

This is Katie Mac from the Virtual Harmony University (VHU) Team at BHS. Last year at VHU 2020, I got to (briefly) take off my Harmony Hall hat and be with my wonderful quartet, GQ, as section leaders for the Virtual Choir. (After a year of pandemic, we all know what a virtual choir is, right? Individual singers record themselves singing their part along with a track, then all the videos are compiled into a single, spectacular video showing hundreds of people singing together!)

The GQ girls and I had a blast working with the sopranos and altos. We led section rehearsals, warm ups, and were captivated by arrangers Scott Harris, David Wright, and Deke Sharon (NO BIG DEAL!). We loved recording the chart and filming for the videos for Still the One and Into the Unknown and be a part of something greater than ourselves. We know that we’ll get to look back on 2020 and think, “You know what? That was awesome!”

To anyone who has met me and GQ, I’m the type A personality who finds immense joy in schedules, spreadsheets, and setting and achieving goals. It’s no surprise that I loved planning the VHU Virtual Choir rehearsals for the 400+ attendees — it felt like the biggest chapter rehearsal in BHS to date! So being the big planning nerd that I am, I asked if I could plan the VHU Virtual Choir for 2021. Here’s how that conversation went:

Steve Scott, VHU curriculum director: “Really? As in you want to pick the song, arranger, the director, the section leaders, plan rehearsal, create the Zoom rooms, teach everyone how to submit their audio/video, work with the audio/video editors, sort through hundreds of media files….” (he kept going…)

Me: “DUH.”

Steve knew a good deal when he heard it, and gave me free rein of this year’s Virtual Choir, and I could not be more excited about it! SO! What’s it going to be like?


This year I decided I wanted the Virtual Choir to feel more like a Harmony Camp. We’ll begin with two 2-hour rehearsals to start off VHU with a bang. We’re not going to be singing for the entire time (that’s exhausting), but instead, we’ll break up the schedule with education sessions about the song, interviews with the arranger and section leaders, games and so much more! Singers will have the rest of VHU to record and film their work.

We’re also focusing on one song this year instead of two. This will allow us to really perfect one chart that’s super-fun and very barbershoppy. That song will be “ABC,” as performed by The Jackson Five, and arranged by the one and only David Wright! It’s a chart made famous by the incredible Double Date Quartetwatch it ! It’s quick, witty, and singing it will make you smarter!

We will be under the direction of the hilarious, kind, and incredibly talented Alex Morris. Zooming in all the way from Australia, he might be having his morning coffee while most of us have been awake for hours, but he’ll be ready to go! Alex directs the Geelong Harmony Chorus (Sweet Adelines Australia), and is a sought-after arranger, judge, and a friend to all. His classes on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion of all singers are a staple at Harmony University every year. Additionally, he is in high demand as a world-class coach and is a very affirming teacher.

I won’t lie, I’m still dreaming up some ideas for our rehearsals and I’d love to hear from YOU as to what you’d like to see! Are there any virtual games in your chapter meetings that you love? Do you have a sectional technique that just makes sense? If you have any thoughts or ideas, email them to me at virtualchoir@barbershop.org.

So now that you know how AWESOME the Virtual Choir will be, you can click here to register for VHU. You can do the Virtual Choir only, or get a full registration to truly indulge your barbershop nerdiness. The VHU Team (me, Steve Scott, and Brent Suver) cannot WAIT to share what’s in store for you this summer! See you there!

We had a ball in 2020 — and more fun to come in 2021!