Singing Bodies, Electric: U-M SMTD's offers a "Grand Night" of virtual choirs


Singing is one of life's greatest joys, whether you're crooning in a choir or car jamming with friends.

But projecting your voice in a group setting is also one of the best ways to spread Covid-19, so singing with other humans was an early loss during the pandemic.

It seemed a certainty that annual vocal events such as the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance's Grand Night for Singing were going to be postponed until a cure was found. But as has happened with so many certain-to-be-canceled things, creative people found ways to continue on within the current reality, and Director of Choirs Eugene Rogers organized a virtual version of this show that mixes newly sung songs with prior performances.

The virtual choir features more than 360 singers recorded in their homes, from Ann Arbor to China, singing four songs:

"I Was Glad" by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry
"Say Her Name" by Alysia Lee
"How Can I Keep From Singing" by Robert Wadsworth Lowry
"One Foot/Lead With Love" by Melanie DeMore

The other performances are from the times when we could sing together and features the U-M Chamber Choir, University Choir, Orpheus Singers, University of Michigan Men's Glee Club, University of Michigan Women's Glee Club, UMS Choral Union, Alysia Lee, Melanie DeMore, and SMTD Musical Theatre & Voice Departments. Songs include John Lennon's "Imagine," Bill Withers' "Lean on Me," Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, "Choral," and more.

You can read the program here as you listen to this uplifting hour of music. Feel free to sing along.

Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.