The reason behind my 1-man a cappella quartet videos

The Joys of the Cantabile Singers’ Virtual Choir Experiment

Ryan Noakes  August 20, 2020 at 12:41 pm

Taking on the role of the music director of the Cantabile Singers of Kamloops in the middle of a global pandemic is certainly an interesting experience. I couldn’t ask for a better group of humans to be going through this process with though!

The double whammy of change in director paired with the ever-changing circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic certainly adds some extra stress. But it also provides a unique opportunity to very clearly and definitively establish an end to one chapter and the start of a new one. The shift into virtual activities makes a clear change, be it zoom meetings just to keep in touch or, more recently trying our hand at creating a Virtual Choir video.

I selected a madrigal that I have always enjoyed singing, Thomas Morely’s April is in My Mistress’ Face, and the choir members set about learning it. Of course, in isolation. I can’t fully express how incredible it was to work with them on this experiment. Of course, people were nervous. It’s perfectly understandable; recording yourself solo is a nerve-wracking for many people. Choral singers are also accustomed to being one of many voices working together. The solo recording is not only way outside the norm, it’s also well outside a typical person’s comfort zone. You are very vulnerable, and your insecurities can run rampant. But despite all this, the singers forged ahead and recorded themselves. It was beautiful to see everyone transition from being nervous and concerned to “ok, I know my part, I’ve practiced with the reference track, it’s time to do this!”

Being associated with these wonderful humans makes me very happy. Many people would just turn away from the challenge. You couldn’t really fault anyone for doing so. But, like with other challenges in the past, the Cantabile Singers of Kamloops instead actively chose to rise to it. Check out the video here. I am biased as hell, but I think it turned out pretty well. And I couldn’t be prouder of my awesome choir.

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Ryan Noakes

Ryan Noakes was born in 1979 in Kamloops, British Columbia, where he grew up thinking life was a musical with his parents constantly playing and singing along with records. An accomplished singer, he has been a member of numerous choirs and vocal ensembles and performed in several musical theatre productions. Ryan received his BMus in composition from the University of Victoria in 2008. At UVic he was a two-time recipient of the Murray Adaskin Prize in Music Composition. Ryan also helped to establish two new vocal ensembles at the university. After graduating from UVic, he was instrumental in the creation of the Vancouver Island Chamber Choir; as a founding member, manager, and composer-in-residence. In 2010 Ryan relocated to Vancouver and received his MMus in composition from the University of British Columbia in 2012. He has recently returned to his home town of Kamloops.

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