Like many other artists in Manitoba, Polycoro from Winnipeg hasn’t been able to perform together for nearly two years due to COVID-19 – but that hasn’t stopped them from creating a powerful video to inspire hope that the end of the pandemic is in sight.
Singing is considered a “risky” activity in terms of the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and pandemic restrictions have limited group gatherings since March 2020.
Despite all of this, Polycoro was able to come together – albeit apart – to produce a video of the choir performing Dolly Parton. Light of a clear blue morning.
“We would love to be able to sing together and record again in the same room,” Polycoro Creative Director Zohreh Gervais said in an interview with CBC’s Radio Information.
“But because of the way things turned out, singing being a risky activity, we did it one person at a time in a studio. We didn’t see each other at all during the whole shoot.”
Gervais says she often thought of Dolly Parton’s song throughout the pandemic.
“‘It’s been a long, dark night’ – that’s the opening line of the song,” she said, with the last word held “to the point where you’re almost out of breath.
“And it’s just like, ‘Oh my God, when is this going to end?’ And that’s exactly how COVID felt for so many people, I think. ”
“Something people could relate to”
Polycoro, who usually gives concerts with visuals like the music video, formed in 2015. (The choir also has a connection with CBC – Nolan Kehler, a technical producer with CBC Radio in Manitoba, is a tenor in the group.)
Gervais says there is a need to recognize the experience of pandemic society in their art.
“I wanted to make this video because there are so many different ways that people have dealt with the experience of COVID. I wanted something that people could relate to. There are so many elements that have changed in all of our lives. “
The video opens with a scene of a grandmother running to hug her grandchild in what we can assume is the first time in a very long time, Gervais says.
“It’s something so many families missed. Distance and time haven’t really made a dent in that. We still have that love between grandmother and grandchild, no matter what. come.”
Gervais says being able to record and sing such an uplifting song has encouraged her to remain optimistic, despite the challenges she faces as a parent and as an artist.
“The thing that resonates the most with me is this idea of having hope again, after being almost too afraid to hope.
“There have been so many times in COVID, I think a lot of us, especially in the arts, have been wondering, ‘How are we going to do this again? “”
Since the choir recorded and filmed their parts separately, Gervais says even the performers were surprised to see the end result.
“I didn’t tell any of them what the video was about. They were very emotional.… I got responses like, ‘Oh, I just screamed my eyes.'”
Radio news – MB7:02Singing was considered a risky activity during the pandemic. The choirs therefore had to put away the scores and completely stop singing in groups.
Currently, COVID-19 restrictions in the province are easing, with larger groups able to congregate indoors and outdoors. Gervais, Polycoro soprano and lead singer of bluegrass band Hay Fever, says she looks forward to a return to normal.
“I can’t wait to share this energy on stage again. I can’t wait to sing with other people again and see an audience,” she said.
“There’s something incredibly lonely about being a musician without ever seeing an audience, it’s hard to stay motivated. I can’t wait to experience this excitement.”