Members of Belle Voci used their own smartphones to record themselves singing and then each video and audio recording was put together to make this video collage. (Submitted)

VIDEO: Fraser Valley singing ensemble overcomes isolation, creates music using digital technology

Members of Belle Voci record ‘a capella’ song together even though they were unable to meet in person

Social distancing and self-isolation didn’t stop a group of Fraser Valley singers from working together to record a vocal song.

Belle Voci, an ‘a cappella’ singing group based out of Chilliwack, made the nine-person ensemble recording of ‘Lay a Garland’ by English composer Robert Lucas de Pearsall even though they were unable to meet in person. A cappella music is singing without instrumental accompaniment.

“The project is all about the determination to find a way to collaborate and create beauty amidst the chaos of COVID-19,” said Paula DeWit, Belle Voci music director.

She said was driven to find a way to overcome any obstacles and continue her lifelong passion for making music.

It started with each of the five men and four women recording themselves singing using their smartphone in their own home. The audio soundtracks were then extracted from the film content, worked on in a professional recording production studio, digitally mastered and then re-inserted into the finished video collage with all the singers performing ‘virtually.’

“Lay a Garland is a sublime madrigal, filled with passionate, anguished harmonies – a real visceral source of comfort during this dark time,” DeWit said. “During our confinement, as we stay at home, our eyes don’t offer escape nearly as well as our ears. It is music that saves us and music that consoles us. It is powerful to immerse yourself in the effortless beauty of this performance and through our headphones, our mind wanders to happier places where we find peace, strength and comfort.”

The recording has been heard around the world, with listeners in Holland, France, the US and UK within the first few hours of the video being released.

“Especially in times of adversity, it is important to keep making beautiful music and show our humanity by staying connected,” DeWit said.

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About Belle Voci:

Belle Voci is led by music director Paula DeWit and performs throughout the Fraser Valley. Its members hail from Port Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack. Celebrated a cappella singers, Belle Voci offers exciting selections of diverse sacred music, including renaissance polyphony, Greek Orthodox chant, traditional and jazzy interpretations of favourite pieces, and modern versions of melodies that have lasted throughout the ages. The group was formed in 2009 and specializes in ‘A Cappella’ music which is a centuries old art form using nothing but the purity and beauty of the natural voice.


 

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