A choir’s journey back to live performance
Posted 9/18/2020

Deborah Simpkin King leading EmberFor the first time since the pandemic began, the Ember ensemble of Schola Cantorum on Hudson will perform live in an outdoor concert. The event will take place on Saturday, September 26 on the beautiful grounds of Boscobel House and Gardens at 1601 Route 9D, Garrison, New York 10524. The 45-minute choral concert, titled “Unfolding,” will have two performances: 4:30 PM and 6:00 PM. Ember’s Artistic Director and Conductor, Deborah Simpkin King, will lead the choir in song.

The concert strictly adheres to the COVID-19 safety protocols issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) including the wearing of masks at all times, social distancing of at least 6 feet and COVID-safe hygiene. More...

Despite pandemic, St. George's presses on with multimedia concert
Posted 9/4/2020

Matthew LewisDue to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Matthew Lewis, Artistic Director of St. George’s Choral Society (SGCS), found himself scrambling for a way to keep the group going. As singing in groups and concerts in enclosed spaces have been identified as a “super spreader” events, his challenge to keep the group singing was shared by other choral groups. Many ensembles ended up cancelling their upcoming fall seasons. Undeterred, Dr. Lewis approached this existential issue as a problem that could ultimately be solved. Fortunately, he found an answer, thanks to advancements in audio-visual technology.

On Saturday, November 21 at 7 PM, SGCS will present a newly commissioned piece – tentatively titled Mass (sung in Latin) – by composer Phillip Martin for choir, soloists and chamber ensemble. But unlike in previous years when more than fifty singers would get together on stage, this fall, they will appear as pixels. The choir will have their segments pre-recorded, which will then, in turn, be played back while the soloists and ensemble perform live at St. George’s Church on Manhattan’s Stuyvesant Square. The entire piece will be livestreamed, and depending on NYC policy at that point, there may be the possibility for limited audience attendance.

SGCS board member Sean Nam interviewed Matthew this August about the upcoming concert. More...

Archive of old VAN Features

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  • Zoom's September update now includes a high-fidelity audio mode that better supports virtual musical activity. See support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/360048388632-New-Updates-for-September-1-2020 and an article about how a Yale-led group of music schools helped bring about this enhancement. (2020-9-11)
  • Another New York Times article about the challenges--and joys--of resuming choir activities. (2020-9-6)
  • A preprint of research funded by the UK government offers the conclusion that unless you’re singing fortissimo, the difference between singing at a given volume and speaking at the same volume is minimal, which is rather different than what was previously thought. See the preprint (meaning the research has yet to be peer reviewed) at chemrxiv.org. (Thanks to Peter Leigh for this item.) (2020-8-24)
  • Love the Psalms? Love Anglican Chant? Watch this YouTube video in which John Cantrell, Organist and Choirmaster at St. Michael's Church on the Upper West Side, talks about his jazz- and roots music-influenced settings for all 150 Psalms--The St. Michael's Psalter. There's also an opportunity to help fund the project if you're inspired to do so. (2020-8-10)
  • Interesting viewing and reading: a video from NPR explaining the challenges of playing and singing together over the internet and an article by Fahad Siadat of C4 entitled Innovations and Experimentations in Distanced Choral Singing, which includes a link to a detailed setup document (if you're looking to experiment with distanced singing tools). (2020-7-28)

Archive of old "News" items

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The latest additions to the site's content and features.
  • September 17, 2020: New Choir Directory listing and Choir Auditions ad for Montclair Early Music.
  • July 21, 2020: New link for The Vocal Hub, a UK-based online coaching service hosted by Sofia Maffei.
  • June 18, 2020: We've added "Online" as a locale for our Concert Calendar listings, and you can filter the listings to show only "Online" events. We're also happy to accept listings for online events. Use the Concert Calendar New Listing form.
  • January 4, 2020: New Choir Directory listing for Transcend Vocal Ensemble, a gender-inclusive treble ensemble based in Manhattan.
  • December 19, 2019: New Choir Directory listing and Choir Auditions ad for East Flatbush Community Voices.
  • December 10, 2019: New Choir Directory listing and Choir Auditions ad for Oceanaires, a barbershop chorus based in Toms River, NJ.
  • October 25, 2019: New Choir Directory listing and Choir Auditions ad for Boricua College Choir, a community choir based at Boricua College's Manhattan campus.
  • October 23, 2019: We've fixed some code on the Choir Auditions page so that alphabetical sorts now work correctly. Groups with "The" in their names had been mistakenly sorted under "T" rather than by the first non-"The" word in their names. We've also adjusted the gold and silver Sustaining Membership indicators in the Choir Directory and on the Choir Auditions page to conform to our new season-based Sustaining Membership policy.
  • October 15, 2019: New Choir Directory listing and Choir Auditions ad for Rockefeller Center Sings, offering a workshop culminating in a performance under the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.
  • October 14, 2019: New Choir Directory entries for ensembles in New Rochelle: a listing for the Choir at St. John's Wilmot Episcopal Church and a listing for Vocal Ensemble Laboratory, a workshop and networking group.

Archive of old "New on VAN" items

See also the Info Exchange.
  • Need some exquisite beaded jewelry to complement your concert attire? Or perhaps a distinctive gift for that special singer in your life? Or maybe you'd like to host a jewelry show to benefit your favorite non-profit organization? Try Carnelian Knoll, where you'll find necklaces, bracelets and earrings of vintage beads and silver handcrafted by Julie Siegmund.
  • Looking for rehearsal space or performance venues? Try NYC Music Spaces, part of Fractured Atlas's SpaceFinder NYC database of available rehearsal and performance spaces for instrumental and vocal musicians. You'll find places to rent, from studios to large venues, for classical, jazz, rock--whatever you need to rehearse or perform in NYC.
  • Looking for an outstanding vocal ensemble coach? Mark Johnson, possessor of an amazing ear and terrific interpretive insights in a variety of styles, is available to coach your group. Contact Mark via e-mail.
  • Liz Fleischer's Sight-Singing Program is offered each season at the Kaufman Center (129 West 67th Street). Classes include ear-training, rhythm and pitch reading, music theory, basic notation and terminology, with emphasis on learning to hold a part with confidence. For more info, visit www.kaufman-center.org/lucyadults_mus_sight.htm, e-mail fleischerliz@aol.com or adultdivision@kaufman-center.org or call (212) 501-3362. The sight-singing program is just one of the classes offered by the Kaufman Center's Lucy Moses School.

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Vocal Area Network gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Sustaining Member ensembles for the current season:

Riverside Choral Society

Cantori New York (2020-21)
Dalton Chorale
Greenwich Village Chamber Singers (2020-21)

Nikolai Kachanov Singers

Vocal Area Network gratefully acknowledges the past support of the following Sustaining Member ensembles:

The Dessoff Choirs, Grace Church Choral Society, The West Village Chorale

Big Apple Chorus, The Brooklyn Community Chorus, The Brooklyn Contemporary Chorus, The Canby Singers, The Cecilia Chorus of New York, Cerddorion, Chelsea Song, Dalton Chorale, Florilegium Chamber Choir, Riverside Choral Society, The Stonewall Chorale, St. George's Choral Society, Schola Cantorum on Hudson

Americas Vocal Ensemble, AmorArtis, The Babylon Chorale, C4: The World's First Choral Composer/Conductor Collective, Cantabile Chamber Chorale, Choral Chameleon, Chorus 802, Christ Church Choir, Douglas Frank Chorale, Down Town Glee Club, Greater Nassau Chorus, Lehman College and Community Chorus, New Amsterdam Singers, The New Choral Society, New York Choral Society, Nikolai Kachanov Singers, North River Sing, The Peace of Heart Choir, Renaissance Street Singers, Renaissance Vocal Ensemble, Riverdale Choral Society, Russian Chamber Chorus of New York, Sacrum Convivium, St. James' Compostela Choir, St. Paul's Englewood, Sing We Enchanted, Uncommon Chord, Voices of New York, Women Singing

For more about how you or your ensemble can help defray the costs of providing VAN's services,
visit the Sustaining Membership page.