A Zoom with grandpa, a negative virus test result, the mastery of a new skill: Such hopeful notes were essential to weathering the prolonged COVID-19 limbo of the past year.
And now, spring brings us more high notes: an easing of mask restrictions, some warm and sunny weather and the gradual return of live music.
Jackson Hole’s Cathedral Voices Chamber Choir presents a spring concert it has titled “Notes of Hope” starting at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Center for the Arts’ amphitheater to the south of the performing arts pavilion. The volunteer community ensemble’s first performance in over a year will feature contemporary and traditional works of Americana, with the voices augmented by the Jackson Hole Brass Quintet and members of the Jackson Hole Symphony.
“We never stopped rehearsing,” director Laura Huckin said of the choir’s preparations for this long-awaited day. “The concept of not singing at all was a really difficult one for any of us to digest, so we are going to sing.”
Sometimes that meant wearing masks, which meant not being able to see mouths moving and faces expressing, and spaced 10 feet apart in the Center for the Arts’ large music room.
Other times it meant virtual rehearsals.
“We did that all fall,” said Huckin, which was especially difficult given latency issues of computer video technology. “There’s no way we can all sing together [on Zoom] and have it not sound like a jumbled mess. I’d have to listen to one voice at a time or mute them all and just watch their faces and mouths.”
But the mix of adult male and female voices managed anyway — they even pulled off a masked, livestreamed Christmas concert — and are ready to show the results.
Sunday’s program will include songs by Lennon and McCartney (“Blackbird,” “In My Life”), Paul Simon (“Bridge Over Troubled Water”) the Wailin’ Jennys (“Storm Comin’”) and Dolly Parton (“Light of the Clear Blue Morning”) as well as a sea shanty, a jig and some well-loved traditionals.
“The theme of hope and survival and getting through this and we’re in it together, that’s the thread that runs through much of the music we picked,” Huckin said. “That’s how we feel, that’s what we’ve all been going through. And the music we selected came from that personal place of rising above and out of the in a positive way.”
Bring a blanket or chair and some refreshments — and probably a jacket, as it is a Wyoming spring — and celebrate the season, our new normal and our collective roots with live music on the Center Lawn. The Center Theater stands ready, too, should conditions demand an indoor retreat.
Free, with plenty of room for social distancing.