Quoddy Voices Director John Newell reports that the group had a productive spring virtual season, in which they continued to build on what was learned the previous fall. A highlight all for all was guest artist, Mary Sullivan, a singer and voice teacher, who led the choir’s online rehearsals for four sessions. “The group found her instruction on vocal technique and ideas for warming up the voice quite helpful,” noted Newell.

Quoddy Voices singers are shown in a Zoom rehearsal working with visiting artist Mary Sullivan.

The group also completed two ‘virtual choir’ projects during this session. The first was Newell’s own composition, “Rushing River,” a lively canon; the second, a song Newell feels is “destined to become a classic”: “Sing Gently” by Eric Whitacre. Composed during the pandemic for Whitacre’s own virtual choir project, the song was famously recorded by a more than 17 thousand singers in 29 countries, and assembled into a video which is nearing 2 million views on YouTube.

“We worked with Whitacre’s own ‘conductor guide track’ to learn and sing the piece,” said Newell, who described being ‘haunted’ by the piece as he worked to edit together the Quoddy Voices singers’ rendition of the song. “Lauren Koss is creating a video to accompany our performance; it will be released in the next few weeks,” added Newell. “Also I plan for us to perform it live(!) at our concert in December.”

Quoddy Voices Director John Newell proudly models the two t-shirts given him as gifts by participants in the choir’s spring virtual season.

Newell has announced too that the choir will resume in person rehearsals on September 20, to prepare for early December concerts, utilizing appropriate protocols. “We especially look forward to meeting (in person) several members who joined Quoddy Voices during the online seasons, having just moved to our area.”

Quoddy Voices is a constituent group of Eastport Arts Center, ‘where creativity and community meet.’ The choir’s videos are available by visiting their page (scroll down to see all of the video releases!) and via their YouTube playlist.

More information about Mary Sullivan and a link to Whitacre’s “Sing Gently” video may be found here.