A Donegal choir that simply couldn’t stop singing together has formed a virtual choir online.
The Donegal Abbey Singers are hitting all the right notes from their own homes as they continue to perform together in a new way during the Covid-19 emergency.
This week they released their first virtual choir performance, featuring voices from Portnoo all the way to Ballybofey.
Their version of ‘If I Can Help Somebody’, recorded individually and edited together, is a brand new approach for the group. It’s a real embodiment of #inthistogether, according to Choir Director Evan McGarrigle.
Evan told Donegal Daily: “The Abbey Singers are a social group, first and foremost.
“The chit-chat, joking around and the wee cup of tea are as important as the music.
“A number of weeks ago, when it became apparent that we wouldn’t be meeting up for rehearsals as usual, I messaged the choir and suggested to them to create a virtual choir video together. My feeling was that – as a well established performing group, now part of the heritage of County Donegal – the choir could reach out to their friends and followers locally and further afield with a little ray of light at this unsettling time.”
Members skipped rehearsals and went straight into doing what they love most – singing.
The logistics of directing singers and editing clips was a learning experience for Evan, he said: “I sent out a practice recording that they could play in their ear as they recorded their song. The arrangement is in 4-part harmony and is quite intricate, including tempo changes and everything!
“The members practised very hard at home and the videos started pouring in – to my whatsapp, email etc. I was worried that some of our members would struggle with the technology. But there were singers running around during the week sourcing headphones from neighbours, borrowing spouses cameras, finding out how to zip and compress files to send them online. I’m not too surprised to see that dedication.”
Evan added that audio required no editing whatever: “The singers sang with uniformity as if they were in the same location. Such is their bond and friendship.”
As an amateur editor, Evan said he is very proud of the finished product and immensely proud of the choir’s efforts.
“I took over as director this past September on the recommendation of founder-conductor Eileen Carr and the warm welcome and pure dedication to the choir, to their friends, to making good music has astounded me. The choir have welcomed me with open arms and I feel very blessed,” he said.