When the dark, wet winter drove us from singing in the outdoor public parking garage, we reZoomed online practice sessions without much enthusiasm. When spring turned to summer, we cautiously tried in-person sessions again, this time, at home in a large kitchen with patio doors open, air purifier humming away, singers masked except when leading a shanty, and physically distanced. It was encouraging to see real faces attached to bodies, but the sense of camaraderie was not at our previous level. And then we received The Invitation.
A friend was helping to organize a Wooden Boat Show and Open House for the Hollyburn Sailing Club in which he was a member and wanted to know if we could come and sing for an hour or two. We’d get a free lunch, and alternate with one other act — a group of guys in matching Hawaiian shirts covering pop songs on ukuleles. This was an ideal re-entry for live performing. After discussing our COVID-19 concerns and precautions, we agreed and showed up at the boat club on a sunny afternoon.
Under the protective canopy, we stepped away from ukulele band’s electronic gear, lined up, and sang for anyone who strolled by, but mostly for ourselves. We rediscovered live harmonies, adjusted volume on the fly, listened closely and watched one another for those little cues you miss from across the kitchen. We were finally singing as a group again and it was a wonderful feeling!
It gave us so much confidence that we agreed to lead some shanties at Folk Music at the Beach on September 9 at the Hollyburn Sailing Club. It will be like old times — almost.