The latest issue of Choral Journal is online and features an article titled “The Virtual Choir as Collaboration” by Janet Galván and Matthew Clauhs. You can read it in its entirety online at acda.org/choraljournal. Following is a portion of this article’s introduction.
The outbreak of novel corona virus COVID-19 led to a global pandemic in the spring of 2020. At the time when this article was written, the virus had infected fifteen million people around the world and caused over 619,000 deaths.
In the United States, schools and universities closed their campuses to slow the spread of the virus and minimize the loss of life. As a result of school closures, music educators were faced with a daunting task of adapting their classes and ensembles for remote instruction, using video conferencing tools to deliver synchronous (at the same time) content and online learning management systems such as Google Classroom and Blackboard for asynchronous (not at the same time) teaching and learning.
We (the authors) responded to this challenge by planning and implementing a collaborative virtual choir project. It was important to us that the project be focused on process and the acquisition of skills, knowledge, and experience, rather than the production of a single video. As the director of choral activities at our institution, I (first author), wanted to keep our singers connected to their choral community and also provide them with a performance opportunity. Prior research demonstrates the vast benefits of group singing for community mental health, especially in response to adverse life events such as a global pandemic. Keeping communal singing alive (no matter what format) seemed important for the well-being of the students. Additionally, there is evidence of higher perceptions of social presence in virtual choirs when compared to live formats.
After having conversations with the second author, a music education professor who taught a music technology class in the spring semester, we determined a virtual choir would be mutually beneficial for both the choir and technology class. The virtual choir would also be a model for future collaborations between our music performance and music education departments.
Read the rest of this article (and more!) in the October 2020 issue of Choral Journal, available online at acda.org.