BY SHARON PONTE – Some of the casualties of the pandemic have been spending time together, socializing, dinner parties, and in the case of Grande Glee – singing. Every Friday morning the Gleesters would gather at the community center and sing their little hearts out, but like everything else it came to a screeching halt last spring. Or did it?
Grande Glee switched to virtual Glee on Zoom almost immediately last spring. We continued to meet (sometimes with a few technical difficulties) weekly until summer and then started right back up again in the fall.
While it is not how we prefer to sing, it is better than not singing at all. We cannot sing together simultaneously online because of internet delays (we have a very bad rendition of happy birthday to prove it) but we can warm up together and take turns singing our songs for the Virtual Glee Coffee House.
The Glee Coffee House is a concept to help Glee singers work on performance skills. Right now, that means online performing. It is a whole new experience for all of them. You must sit very still, have good lighting, and even worry about your background fading or your ear disappearing. You need just the right balance of your accompaniment to your singing and do not even get me started on the pitfalls of YouTube!
Recently Glee has added themed sing-a-longs to their weekly meetings. Last Friday the Gleesters happily joined in singing several patriotic songs while the words scrolled across their screens. Some future ideas include 60s music, TV themes, operettas, and Godspell. The list is endless and while we can’t be physically together, we can still do what we love best – singing together.
Recently, Sharon (the Glee music director) has started offering online music theory classes. Students learn note reading, clefs, time signatures, key signatures, and all things music. Knowing the language of music will make singing a lot easier because singers will be able to read the notes, know when to come in, how long to hold notes and much more.
While it is sometimes a technological challenge, the happy Gleesters have definitely stepped up to the online challenge. To date the first two Glee Christmas Coffee House concerts have had over 350 views. You can find them on Spark Boca Grande TV on YouTube along with many other solos and performances.
So, as you can see, music is alive and well in Boca Grande, even in these challenging times. Sing, learn a new skill, just keep pursuing things that make you happy until we can all have our normal lives back again.
Go to youtube.com/watch?v=fT7Z2qcP2Mc&feature=youtu.be for Grande Glee’s latest production, “The Patriotic Coffee House Hour.”