The University of Alberta’s Madrigal Singers has found a very creative way to perform before a live audience amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The choir has pivoted and has been performing as a “car choir,” gathering in a parking lot and singing into microphones from inside their vehicles.
“We use the cars as a little sound booth. We have individual singers in their own vehicles or sometimes in their own bubble, they have a couple people in their own cars,” Choral director Tim Shantz said.
The music is mixed live by a sound technician and sent on FM broadcast so the audience — who are also in their vehicles — can listen live.
“When we perform and actually have an audience listening, it’s quite overwhelming: tears, laughter,” Shantz said. “There’s this feeling that we’ve been missing out on something. It’s that shared experience, shared events, performing arts is about that.”
Shantz said the response from audiences has been overwhelmingly positive.
“It’s been quite incredible to get the response that our audiences have had,” he said. “I’ve done this a number of times with other groups as well in Calgary, so it’s quite amazing.”
The choir has not scheduled their next “car concert,” but it has an online spring show planned for April 10.
“What this shows is that we feel performing arts is extremely important and it’s been very obvious that it’s important to them as well, so we will do whatever we can to make sure the music is heard,” Shantz said.