Bel Cantanti Choir

Katerina Souvorova is an opera Impresaria/Maestra who runs Bel Cantanti Opera, a small but tenacious opera company she created in 2003 to give performance opportunities to local operatic talent. I sang the role of Marullo and chorus in her production of Verdi’s Rigoletto in 2004, and have enjoyed seeing many subsequent productions. When the pandemic sent many church musicians into panic mode right before Easter of 2020, Katerina sprang into action and enlisted the aid of some of the singers who have worked with her over the years to create a virtual choir. We singers provide a video of ourselves singing the week’s hymn, but Katerina does all the heavy lifting: she records the piano or organ accompaniment and uploads it in the form of a video that pairs the score with the accompaniment, and once we’ve all uploaded our videos (singing along to hers), she later puts together the final video, in which each of us appears in our little rectangle on the screen, along with appropriate inspiring videos and still images. I have dabbled in this type of “post production” enough to understand what a daunting task it is to make things look and sound right.

I started out recording my hymn videos in the living room on my iPhone, with decent video and audio. But once I got my good microphone set up in the closet where I record voiceover stuff, complete with sound-proofing materials, I thought I’d record in there for better sound quality. It doesn’t look as nice as in the living room, but I don’t want to move the whole microphone set up to the living room for hymn recording, so now I record the audio in the closet, and then essentially lip-synch to that audio track while recording the video in the living room. Then I put it all together in Adobe Premiere Pro, which I’ve been learning gradually over the last year.

Hi-tech hymn-singing, pandemic style

For my next trick, I’ll start using the green screen. What could possibly go wrong?

Yes, I know. I have since found a lamp to light the green screen evenly to avoid shadows.

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