A New Way Forward: A Lighter Side

In the Summer 2020 issue of Chorus America's magazine, the Voice, we published a number of special features that highlighted the choral community's response in the wake of COVID-19. With in-person performances and rehearsals abruptly taken away, dozens of choral organizations showed their creativity by quickly finding new ways to make music and serve their communities.

A Lighter Side

Ways to make people smile are at a premium these days, and these projects have provided some much-needed levity.


Tik-Tok-inspired video challenges have found their way to choral conductors during the pandemic. Quite a few conductors have teamed up to create their own choral-specific editions of the “Don’t Rush Challenge,” a viral video challenge on social media created in England by Black female college students trying to entertain themselves during shelter-in-place orders. A few of the most widely known conductors to participate include Jason Max Ferdinand of Oakwood University, André Thomas of Florida State University, and Joyce Garrett, formerly of the Christmas in Washington television specials.

The Twin Cities chapter of Beer Choir (fittingly known as “the choir that sings while drinking beer”) is bringing the pub atmosphere home with its Virtual Happy Hour series. Shows include sing-alongs, games, and interviews with special guests—all while enjoying local beers, of course.

The singers of Cantus moved their popular Cantus Idol online this April. The ensemble’s annual competition pitting members against each other serves as a fundraiser, so it folded the grand finale into its 25th anniversary virtual gala. To mark the special milestone season, the group invited alumni back as part of the competition. Several Cantus singers have also gotten creative and whimsical with side projects, including Jacob Christopher’s Frozen 2 parody, “Working from Home.”

Several other choruses have highlighted individual singers in their ranks who released their own parody song videos, including Phoenix Chorale (Billy Joel’s “For the Longest Time”) and Chorus pro Musica (“Everything’s Closed,” spoofing Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes”).