THE Song Sisters formed at the start of the year with the aim of providing women with a weekly opportunity to sing together - and they weren't going to let COVID-19 stand in their way.
The choir of 26 women from all walks of life, led by conductor Kim Sutherland OAM, only had four rehearsals before government restrictions interrupted their progress.
Undeterred, Ms Sutherland suggested they continue to meet on Thursday nights, but move their location from St John the Baptist's hall in Lambton to Zoom video calls.
"We've structured each rehearsal so that we have some physical exercises, physical warm ups, and breathing and vocal warm ups, then we work on some repertoire that we had already started," Ms Sutherland said.
This ranges from The Beatles' Blackbird to an Arabic chant that translates to 'peace be with you'.
"For some of the women it's been a huge challenge to get on board with the technology that's required... but now it's almost second nature."
She said she'd also encouraged them to join American composer Eric Whitacre's virtual choir, which involves uploading a video of themselves singing his song, Sing Gently.
Ms Sutherland said the women were motivated not just by their desire to continue to sing, but the maintenance of the social connections they'd forged.
"When you sing together, there's something quite special that happens - they say that your hearts start to beat in sync when you sing, when you're breathing together and have that total focus and concentration on getting it right," she said.
"You get a lovely sense of flow when you have a good choir rehearsal."
They hope to reunite next term. "The problem is there's still research coming out saying choral singing is problematic in terms of the spread of the virus, so we're waiting on more research, the evidence that it's going to be safe to do so," she said.
"This is a vulnerable group of women as well [most are over 55]... so we need to be very careful.
"When we do come back we will have distancing measures in place, we'll follow all of the guidelines."
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here
IN THE NEWS:
- NSW Police Minister David Elliott calls for inquiry into assaults against police after Hunter incidents
- Light aircraft's propeller 'stationary' before fatal Maitland crash that killed Andy Shepherd, ATSB report finds
- Saints' pain as thieves target clubhouse, steal uniforms and cause destruction
- Jobs fly south as Jetstar shuts Newcastle maintenance base