Jan 28, 2021
By Christine Ross
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Unfazed by COVID lockdowns, a Toronto Seniors Choir made the quick decision to practice and perform online at the beginning of the pandemic last March and have been going strong ever since. While it’s not the same as gathering in person for this lively group of 60-99 year olds, they’re having a blast being rock stars while giving us all something to smile about.
“This community of singers wants to be together and the feeling of trying to stay together any possible was of utmost importance,” says Artistic Director Anthony Bastianon. Not only did Anthony conduct the group virtually, he and his 16-year-old son William spent 100 hours editing the accompanying video featuring the singers in their own homes dancing, exercising and staying socially distant.
“Where there’s the line then I saw her face, we changed it to then I saw your face and of course with all the mask wearing, it seemed like an absolutely perfect line.”
The release of the video was a bit serendipitous according the founder of Voices Rock Canada.
“I’m a believer was number one in 1967 in the UK on the same day this was released, so I thought that was hilarious,” Cheryl Bower chuckled.
Cheryl oversees more that 200 singers who are members of four different choirs: children, adults, seniors and adult female physicians.
“The irony in all of this is that every time we release a new video, we get new members.” She adds the seniors have been fantastic at embracing the Zoom technology.
Anthony suffered great loss in 2020. His Father died from COVID early in the pandemic in a nursing home and his Mother passed away from a stroke 80 days later.
“There was no ability to have any kind of service, or funeral or anything that may be part of your traditions or customs.”
But he says the choir gave him lots of love and support and many home cooked meals.