The Cantabile Singers of Kamloops are presenting their 10th annual Remembrance Day performance, bringing together the community to remember and honour those affected directly and indirectly by war. This year the performance is presented with a shift to being an online experience due to COVID-19. The singers will all be recording themselves in isolation, with the individual videos being compiled together into a virtual choir performance. The resulting video will be available on the choir’s YouTube channel (http://bit.ly/cantabile-
Ryan Noakes, who was appointed to the role of Music Director of the choir right at the start of the pandemic, says, “Our annual Remembrance Day performance is very important to us, and we know that it is also very important to many members of the community, so we wanted to make certain we were still able to present something in these unusual times.” Singers recording themselves separately is a distinctly different practice from the normal choir singing experience. Says Noakes, “You are used to being one of many voices together, and switching to recording yourself in isolation listening only to a click track is a big step outside of your comfort zone. It can be a very daunting task; you feel very vulnerable and your insecurities can run rampant. We did a virtual choir experiment in the summer and the singers rose to the challenge wonderfully.”
Because a virtual choir project is a highly labour-intensive undertaking, this year’s Remembrance Day performance will be much shorter than normal with a program of only four songs, including the world premiere of Ryan Noakes’ choral setting of the famous WWI poem In Flanders Fields. The Singers will be performing a moving selection of choral music, moving from expressing a feeling of grief and loss to a sense of hope for the future – fitting for both Remembrance Day and our current situation.