Singing Through the Pandemic

In News by Rob Bowman

A Lesson in Resiliency: TC keeps on singing

March 2021:

It has been a year since the COVID-19 lockdown shut down public gatherings in Ottawa and many other cities across Canada. All of Tone Cluster’s in person choir rehearsals, performances, meetings, and social events were cancelled. While many choirs have curtailed their activities, not only has Tone Cluster survived, but we have thrived. The choir quickly mobilized to develop a COVID-19 operational plan that has kept us singing.

Tone Cluster recorded its first virtual recording, Tiny Lights, in time for August 2020 virtual Capital Pride and to date it has received over 2800 views. 

Following the success of Tiny Lights, the Board decided that Tone Cluster would make the commitment to offer a complete virtual season for 2020-2021. All of our concerts would be free and rely on donations from our viewers to help cover the costs of these events.  

In September, we hired our Artistic Director (Virtual), Deirdre Kellerman, and our new accompanist Timothy Piper. Deirdre developed an artistic plan for the season and led weekly rehearsals throughout the autumn in preparation for our first virtual holiday concert, Make the Yuletide Gay. Our singers came back and embraced the virtual environment and even included some former alumni members who are living in other cities. The singers created individual video and audio recordings of various parts of each song every week. Deirdre then assembled them together into an upbeat holiday musical treat with a mix of holiday favourites amid colourful playful holiday images. The concert was available on our YouTube channel for two weeks and received over 1100 views.

In preparation for our second virtual concert, weekly rehearsals and member recordings restarted in January 2021 along with online social activities. Tone Cluster’s second concert, Don’t Stop Me Now, premiered March 8, 2021 and continued until March 22. The choir sang to the theme of resiliency featuring protest music and contemporary choral pieces, along with exciting videos and beautiful imagery including “live” painting by Therese Bergmann.

Tone Cluster’s season continues with a virtual Show Tune Showdown coming on April 24, 2021 and our final concert of the year on June 7, 2021, Make Peace With It, a programme of songs of acceptance and self-worth that will feature Ontario singer-songwriter, Jadea Kelly.

Thank you for joining us to watch our virtual activities and we look forward to when we can sing for you in person again. A big thanks as well to Deirdre, Tim, our singers, donors, sponsors,  the City of Ottawa, The Ontario Arts Council and season sponsor TD Bank for their steadfast support during these challenging times.

Rob Bowman


Tone Cluster-quite a queer choir