I can’t sing. If you asked my husband and neighbours, they would definitely agree, but that doesn’t stop from belting out a tune in the kitchen when I’m cooking, or singing away in the shower. I was in a school choir when I was younger, but I don’t think mouthing the words along with the tune really counts – lip-syncing before lip-syncing was a thing! I put join a choir on my list at the beginning of the year as I thought it would push my boundaries a bit, but also, hopefully, be a lot of fun, which is why I jumped at the chance when I read about The Sofa Singers.
The Sofa Singers project came together very quickly, inspired by the viral videos of Italians singing from their balconies during lockdown. A virtual choir, that comes together using Zoom (a video conferencing app), you go through the harmonies and melodies of one song, led by choirmaster James Sils, and come together to sing the whole song at the end.
My husband and I gave it a go on Friday night, managing to get one of the hottest tickets in town (only 500 places were available, and they went in 10 minutes!) and sung Lean on Me by Bill Withers with 420 people from around the world. It was incredible. Due to the lag and delay on Zoom, you don’t actually hear anybody else (other than the choirmaster James) signing, which for me meant I could sing my heart out as much as I pleased. Thanks to the video function, and James’s stellar presenting, we could see and interact with everybody else without sound: spontaneous waves would erupt now and again, finger clicks were a joyful group activity, and we made cheesy heart shapes with our hands that spread from one video to another. It was so uplifting and joyful to see everybody, and I mean everybody – old, young, male, female, solo, couples, families, and even pets, come together to sing but also join in the fun with everybody else.
I can’t say enough good things about The Sofa Singers, and I encourage anybody curious, bad singer or not, to join in a weekly session. As the demand was so high for the last meeting, they will be streaming the next one on YouTube too, so there’s really no excuse. It was a fantastic experience to have that sense of community with a group of strangers, especially at this time where everybody is so isolated. I will absolutely be joining in the next session, and I look forward to riding that high through the rest of the week.