2021 – The Year That Was
Extraordinary efforts to produce extraordinary expression
In my eighth year in business as an independent audio engineer I saw the first full year under COVID restrictions. The clients that I serve in my line of work are of the “creative class”. They are singers and instrumentalists whose primary focus in their day to day occupations, and in the way they interact with the world, is to perform before live audiences, which provide energy and inspiration for their performances. Sadly, the COVID pandemic took the audiences away. For these singers and musicians, this is akin to not having enough oxygen to breathe. But for them, not performing at all was not an option. This group that I very proudly serve, does what it does because it needs to perform. The Creative Class of 2021 displayed their talents not only in what they presented but also showed their ingenuity in how they reached their audiences, as well.
Performances from offices, homes, churches, and concert halls
Social distancing was the phrase that dictated how recordings were done in most of 2021. Safety for the cast and crews of these productions was of utmost importance. In the session photos you will see both masked and unmasked participants. The ones that chose or needed to be unmasked were very careful to be in the same “bubble”, limited their numbers to prevent potential exposure, and kept a safe distance on stage as much as possible. Click on the gallery photos for descriptions.
Social distancing was also taken to the extreme, where members of choirs either recorded themselves at home on their own phones and submitted these recordings to be edited together, or individual choir members came to a recording location alone to be recorded individually and mixed later on. Here are three screen grabs from three different production approaches this year that provided three distinct creative styles of expression.
Here are the links from these three productions to see the final results:
Hoosli – “Cherez Pole”
Manitoba Opera – “Easter Hymn”
Polycoro – “Light of a Clear Blue Morning”
Toward the end of 2021, there was a brief window when it appeared that, with a cautious approach, performance for a live audience would be possible again. This window was open only for a very short time before the latest COVID variant started to take its toll, but it gave me two opportunities to hear actual groups of people through my microphones again, and I have to say that it felt and sounded great!
I have written accounts of both experiences recently in previous posts, but if you haven’t yet read them, here are the links to those posts so that you can see what I saw and hear what I heard.
So to the Creative Class of 2021, bravo! I wish to express my heartfelt thanks for including me in your creative journeys. I hope that you all remain safe and productive in 2022.
Roll the credits!
Jazz Winnipeg Festival
Winnipeg Women’s Musical Club
Manitoba Chamber Orchestra
Winnipeg Chamber Music Society
Esprit de Choeur