Award-winning Galway Musical Director Sean Rowland has produced an enthralling video of GMIT’s virtual choir singing John Lennon’s “Imagine” in an incredible example of the creative things people have been achieving under our current restrictions.
Over 100 staff and students took part in the virtual choir, each individually recording their own sections, Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass, and sending them to Sean.
In a feat of editing, Sean then single-handedly edited all of these segments together into a whole, producing an incredible video which can be seen on YouTube here.
Normal choir practice came to a halt on 12 March when the Government announced college closures.
Within days choir master Sean and colleague Anita Mahony had put out a call seeking those interested in continuing their passion online.
Over 100 students and staff from all five campuses immediately signed up including alumni, international students and new members, with 80 eventually submitting videos to Sean. Even family members and pets got involved in the process.
One of the first to sign up was GMIT’s new President, Dr Orla Flynn, in what has been one of her first opportunities to interact with staff and students since she took up her new position after the Covid-19 restrictions had closed the IT.
“As a newcomer to GMIT, I didn’t get a chance to get out and meet staff and students due to the closure, so the choir has given me a brilliant opportunity to become part of the GMIT community,” she says.
“Virtually or otherwise, there is something magical about coming together to sing. Sean put in huge effort to encourage participation, and we are very grateful.”
Sean Rowland said it was very brave of everyone involved to “step out of their comfort zone” and take part in a virtual choir, even if
“There is no substitute for a live performance and the physical feeling we get from singing in a choir, however what The GMIT Virtual Choir has achieved here is astonishing.”
“It was especially uplifting to see everyone’s smiling faces again and to welcome participants from all five of the GMIT campuses.”
Initially, Sean spent a good bit of time upskilling and upgrading the equipment to be able to direct the choir virtually, produce a video and include the visuals and voices of all participants.
Staff and students connected using the teleconferencing app Zoom, which has been in the spotlight during this pandemic, taking part in online tutorials with Sean.
The response to this entire experience has been overwhelmingly positive”, says Anita Mahony, Chairperson of both GMIT Voices and Healthy Campus, adding that it has been having a great impact on people’s mental wellbeing.
“It has been amazing to see the reaction and interaction at our Zoom sessions and also on social media. Everyone is clearly enjoying the experience.”
She praised Sean for completing a “mammoth” task to bring this video together, involving over 80 hours of post-production and editing that would usually require a team of people.
“We are so grateful for all the passion he brings to this virtual choir, his talent and skill, and his energy and enthusiasm which are so contagious”.