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This virtual joyful Eastertide

by Michael Ford last modified 24 Apr, 2020 05:46 PM

The choir of one Wiltshire church was determined not to let the lockdown stop them celebrating Easter in song together.

So the choir of St John’s, Devizes produced a virtual recording of ‘This joyful Eastertide’ that they hoped would help people worship in their isolation.

Listen to it here.

Chris Totney, Director of Music at St John’s takes up the story:

"Towards the end of March, I contacted one of our choir members, James Carey, to delve into his expertise in the world of Music Technology, and we discussed possible repertoire and ways of gaining recordings from individual members of the choir.

"The piece of music we decided on needed to be relatively straightforward, so we settled on the first verse of the well-known hymn ‘This joyful Eastertide’.

"Whilst it would have been lovely to record all 3 verses, we decided to keep things simple and only go for one, in order to give the very youngest children in the choir the confidence to want to take part. Singing at home (with your parents pretending not to listen) is a very different experience indeed from singing together in church, I can promise you! Many of us were astonished at how bad we sounded as individuals!"

The only recording the choir could find online in their preferred key had been posted by Ely Cathedral Choir in 2017, but that didn't put anyone off.

Chris asked all members of the choir to listen to that recording and then, when they felt ready, record themselves singing along to it before sending their sound clip to him.

"I was delighted to find that 24 choir members of all different ages responded."

Then the recordings needed to be edited together:

"The first task was to delete any unwanted sound – for example, one submission had a long silence at the start before someone in the background said, “OK, it’s recording!”

"The result is a recording we never thought we would need to make but I hope it provides you with a snapshot of the processes involved.

"The photo collage of all those who took part represents a keen desire to find ways of staying connected in the face of isolation, whilst also reflecting our Lord’s own determination to triumph in adversity at this time.

"Who knows when we will be back worshipping together again? But in the meantime, I hope this little offering may at least be a small nugget of inspiration to you on this bizarre journey that we must take together."

Listen to the recording here.

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