The Vocal Arts Ensemble, Cincinnati’s professional chorus, was scheduled to perform on Sunday, March 29, until the spread of COVID-19 scuttled a week of rehearsals and the concert.
In lieu of that live performance, 21 members of VAE gathered virtually to learn, record and share one work from that concert. Each singer video-recorded her/his own vocal part, singing along with a click track and pre-recorded piano accompaniment. Bass Sean Taylor then edited and balanced the vocal parts, assembling them to create this final recording. The work is “Salutation,” by Eriks Esenwalds, a Latvian composer who has become one of the leading creative forces in choral music.
Movers & Makers co-publisher Thom Mariner, the longest-standing member of VAE, had this to say about the experience:
“This was a new piece to most, if not all of us, and we had no rehearsal, just an annotated score and a click track to keep us together in time. Recording this alone was extremely difficult without a conductor or other voices with which to blend. I was pleasantly surprised at the final product. Imagine what we could have done with rehearsal and Craig (VAE music director Craig Hella Johnson) to lead us.”
The canceled concert would have closed VAE’s 40th season. As of now, there are no plans to reschedule this program.