Concord Community Music School uses technology to hold driveway ensemble practice

  • The Northern Lights vocal ensemble testing out driveway choir with new headsets on October 14th, 2020 ALLIE ST PETER—Monitor Staff

  • Peggo Horstmann Hodes leads The Northern Lights vocal ensemble during rehearsal on Wednesday at the Concord Community Music School.

  • The Northern Lights vocal ensemble tests out choir new headsets on Wednesday in the driveway of the Concord Community Music School.

  • Paul Hodes adjusts the sound board for the new driveway choir headsets with Janice Dutton.

  • RIGHT: Lyn Lindpainter sings with The Northern Lights vocal ensemble and tests out the new equipment for the driveway choir.

Monitor staff
Published: 10/15/2020 4:16:21 PM

In this ever-changing world, people are continuing to search for a sense of normalcy and community.

The Northern Lights vocal ensemble may have found an innovative way to achieve both. With the help of some new technology and a little bit of patience, a new driveway choir has found its way into the new normal.

The equipment that makes this possible is FM transmitting headphones. Everyone in the ensemble sings into his or her own microphones and all the voices are sent to a soundboard. Once the soundboard receives the information, it instantly blends it all together and sends it back to everyone’s headsets via radio transmission in real time. This makes it possible for everyone to harmonize with each other while still being safely distanced apart.

When Director Peggo Hortsmann Hodes first heard an ensemble perform in this manner, she said she was moved to tears and knew she had to bring it back to the Concord Community Music School.

“Music is my whole life … the fact that we can sing together and hear each other just makes all the difference in the world,” Hodes said after rehearsal on Wednesday.

For the foreseeable future, singing in groups would not have been possible, since it is an easy way for COVID-19 to spread. However, with their new headphones, the driveway choir will keep performing as long as the weather allows.




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