The devastating effect the Covid-19 pandemic had on the cultural world is now well-documented with the cancellation of practically all cultural events world wide. Our choir wasn’t spared either with the most evident effect being the cancellation of the 2020 programme of “Feel the Magic” series. Moreover all other activities and rehearsals by the choir were cancelled as well in view of the preventive measures that have been introduced to combat the spread of the virus.
This new reality brought about a re-thinking of the way things are done and people and entities started coming up with new and innovative ways of doing things to maintain their raison d’etre. The social distancing concept that became fundamental to mitigate the spread of the virus brought to the front a new way of making contact: virtually,…….. with the explosion of video contacting, what many termed the “Zoom boom”.
One of such innovative initiatives is the virtual choir wherein choir members each record their voice and image individually to be later combined with the other choir members’ to form a virtual choral performance.
It was decided that Chorus Urbanus would record the beautiful Maltese Marian song, “Fil-Hlewwa ta’ Mejja” with lyrics by Malta’s National Poet, Dun Karm Psaila, and perform it virtually via YouTube. This project includes the Urbanus Junior Section as well as the adult section of Chorus Urbanus for a global number of nearly 60 choristers. This was undoubtedly one of the biggest such projects undertaken locally with so many participants taking part.
The mixing and editing was entrusted to George Borg, vice-President of the choir and a member of the Bass section of the choir. The end result is a beautiful and emotional rendition of this popular hymn that unified all the dispersed voices of the choristers into a prayer to Our Lady. The Junior Choir sings in unison the first stanza of the song while the Adult Section joins after them with an SATB a capella rendition of the remaining part of the hymn. This project was very well received by the public such that in the first 3 days from upload, more than 1.5k views were registered, the first 1k recorded in the first day alone. This video can be viewed and enjoyed via the following link:
This initiative was important to maintain the team spirit among the choir members who miss the regular rehearsals and performances they were all accustomed to. Everyone’s hope is that these strange times would soon pass. However the cultural would surely take much longer to regain normality as everyone used to remember.
Such a project would undoubtedly not be Chorus Urbanus’ first and last, who as a choir always rose to the occasion of the reality and circumstances encountered.