Letters From Directors
Okanogan Valley Orchestra and Chorus Directors are working hard toward leading us through an exciting new adventure in virtual rehearsals and performances! Our 2020/2021 season may not look the same as usual, but we are committed to doing what we can to provide our members with opportunities to "gather" and perform. We are also committed to our Okanogan Valley community and providing fine music to enjoy from the comfort and safety of virtual seats.
Matt Brown, OVOC Orchestra Director, and Derek Pulsifer, OVOC Chorus Director, have written letters to our members to inform you of what to expect through the season. Thank you to all of our Orchestra and Chorus members who are dedicated to rehearsals and performances through this unusual time, because, as our directors inspire us to declare this year, MUSIC IS VITAL!
From Matt Brown:
Hello OVOC Orchestra Family,
It has been so long since we have last seen each other, and I want you to know I have SO missed you!!! I hope that you and your loved ones have been staying safe and healthy as well as finding some solace in music during this time. This has definitely been a "new way of doing things" and helped me to stretch some new muscles :)
The main reason for this message is to let you know that we are planning on still having a season this year! The OVOC board has accepted Derek Pulsifer's (new chorus director!!!) and my vision for the season which is encapsulated by the phrase "Music is Vital!" We want to let our members and audience know that even though things are different, music will and must survive.
With your health and safety at the forefront of our concerns, our rehearsals and concerts will look different than they have in the past. While we are in the early phases of reopening our counties, both our rehearsals and concerts will be conducted virtually. Luckily, I had some experience with this with my school groups last spring and found some great success. Here is how we are planning for things to look going forward...until it is safe to be together once again:
These will be held every Monday from 6-7:15pm (ish) via a program called "Zoom." Many of you may already be familiar with this app, but if not, it is easy (and free) to download and will help us to see and hear each other. These rehearsals will be quite different than what we are used to, but will allow us to share our weekly communion in music, which I have missed so much. I will make sure to send you a link on how to access that in a future email. Our first virtual rehearsal will be September 7th and that rehearsal will be mainly focused on seeing each other and working out any technical glitches.
We are going to plan on having our 4 regular concerts with the same themes for each as we have done in the past. The dates will be as follows:
October 17 - Season Premier
December 12 - Holiday Concert
February 20 - Family Concert
March 27 - Spring Finale
While we are in a quarantine setting, the concerts will be virtual and will consist of us making recordings of ourselves. We will then treat the concert date as a "release date" and get the word out to our communities to tune-in to YouTube on those days. I know for some if not most of us, this will be a new way doing things. Just to show you what the final product can look like, here is a recording that I made for my Jazz Band last year to play along with:
While we are putting these Virtual Performances together, I will make sure to program music that will be easier for you to rehearse and record. With the amount of time that it takes to put virtual concerts together, this will cut the amount of music per concert to 1-2 pieces. While this isn't as many as in past years, we will be able to show to our community and local schools how music can survive during this time.
I truly miss and love all of you dearly. I hope to see many of you via Zoom for our first rehearsal and look forward to catching up!
Until then, please stay safe and take care.
Music Director - Manson Secondary School
Orchestra Director - Okanogan Valley Orchestra and Chorus
2019 Regional Teacher of the Year - ESD 171
From Derek Pulsifer:
Dear OVOC Chorus,
Welcome to the 2020-21 season! I have missed working with all of you to prepare and perform together, and I hope that you have been staying safe as we navigate the uncertainties around us. Orchestra director Matt Brown and I are focused on the vision this year that “Music is Vital.” Whatever else is happening, our community needs to know that music is important and must be part of our lives.
For those that don’t know me, let me introduce myself. My name is Derek Pulsifer, and I have been a member of OVOC choir for several years in the bass section. Most of you know that Jonathan McBride has accepted a teaching position in Lynnwood, so I will be taking over directing the choir for the 2020-21 season. I am the music teacher at North Omak Elementary School, and before that I taught choir and band in Bridgeport. Making music in OVOC with my peers has always been a place I enjoyed, and I look forward to directing the chorus!
Since your safety is paramount, our rehearsals and performances will look different than the past. As long as we are in the early phases of reopening our county, we will conduct everything virtually. Until it is safe to congregate, this is how things will look-
Virtual Concerts-Since we can’t congregate, the concerts will be virtual and consist of making recordings of ourselves. I will provide practice tracks to sing along with and that you can use as a sound guide when you record (use one device to play the accompaniment into headphones, and another to record yourself singing). Then I can mix all the tracks into one sound and we’ll have a virtual choir! Then we can get the word out to our community to tune in to YouTube on the concert date as a “Release date” for our finished product.
Here is an example of how the finished product can look that Matt Brown did for his jazz band students to play along with-
Since these kinds of concerts take a lot longer behind the scenes to put together, and ultimately you will need to record your part without a choir surrounding you, I will make sure to program music that is easier to practice and record. We will start with 1-2 pieces, and while that’s not as much as a traditional concert, we can still show the community that music can still be a part of what we do. We will still have our 4 concert season that we have done in the past, and will transition back to traditional concerts when it becomes safe to do so.
Derek Pulsifer OVOC Chorus Director