Since their annual spring concert was canceled due to COVID-19 precautions, the director of two Harbor choirs spent her summer piecing together a video of their spring project.
While it was not meant to serve as a kickoff for the Bishop Center’s virtual fall season, when it was released Sunday on Facebook, it certainly gave local arts followers a creative taste of what’s to come.
Kari Hasbrouck is director of both the Grays Harbor Community Choir and the Grays Harbor College Jazz Choir, which combined their voices for this virtual performance. After practicing for months via Zoom, and knowing they couldn’t sing in front of an audience at the Bishop Center, she and the singers decided to do something new and different for their annual spring project: create an elaborate music video with a purpose.
“Everyone involved in the choirs was in agreement that we needed to support the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Hasbrouck. “The song we performed, ‘Let it Matter’ by Elizabeth Alexander, is about really listening to the stories of people affected by racism and being willing to join in conversations to create the real change that needs to happen to end systemic racism in our country.”
After extensive practice, each singer video-recorded his or her part on a smartphone, then sent it to Hasbrouck. She pieced together those plus numerous other images to build the final video.
It was no simple task.
“I learned how to use Audacity to mix and edit audio, and Filmora 9 to create the video,” she said. “I had never done either audio or video editing before, so there was a lot of trial and error involved. I learned a lot in the process, but it took over 100 hours to edit and create the video from start to finish.”
The video has been posted on Facebook at bit.ly/2Fha0TH.
“GHC is full of creative people, and we are doing the best we possibly can under the circumstances,” said Hasbrouck. “Prerecorded music is what we have to do to keep making music and giving our audience something to listen to.
“It’s much better than the alternative of putting everything on hold and not making music at all.”
Bishop’s fall lineup
Later this month, the Bishop Center will launch its new season, called Fall Fridays — which will take place entirely online.
“It’s a fascinating time for the performing arts,” said Andrew Gaines, who leads GHC’s drama department.
Every Friday through Dec. 18, a different show will be available to attend virtually at 7 p.m. The first one, which will be streamed Sept. 25, is a pre-recorded music and dance performance by Mariachi Camarillo in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Also in the early lineup are RupLoops (Oct. 2) and Ericka Corban (Oct. 9).
In addition, Gaines intends to expand upon his “Conversations With…” concept. The inaugural event in May, when he chatted with Dick Scanlan, was well received.
“People felt like they were sitting right next to Scanlan and me, listening to us chat — which was exactly the intention,” said Gaines.
He will conduct a similar broadcast with Broadway vocalist/actor Jenn Gambatese on Oct. 16, and then with Broadway music director Charlie Alterman on Nov. 6. He has known both of them for many years.
“Jenn has an exquisite voice and darling personality,” he said, adding that she has agreed to sing a song live during their conversation. And “I’ve so enjoyed chatting with Charlie about the theater industry over the years because of the way he so candidly shares his perceptions about show business culture.”
All Fall Friday shows will be offered to the public at no charge.
“Through the generosity of our community donors and sponsors, as well as community and statewide grants, we made the decision to offer all programs at no cost to the community,” said Jennifer Alt, manager of the Bishop Center.
For more information on show dates and times, as well as how to access each virtual show, visit www.ghc.edu/bishop. The full Fall Fridays schedule will be posted there as well, with details on each performance.
Local residents are being encouraged to contribute their ideas for future virtual events.
“We know there is an immense amount of talent in the Harbor and we would love to showcase that talent,” Alt said. “If the community has recommendations on who we should have perform virtually at the Bishop Center, we want to know.”
Suggestions may be emailed to Alt at firstname.lastname@example.org, or to Margo Hood at email@example.com.
Gaines is already working on one idea for next spring. “We are hoping to mount a virtual musical revue, possibly pre-recorded,” he said.
“I’m eager to experiment more in this new medium that feels like a hybrid of film and theater.”