The Dubai Camerata Singers (DCS) have produced this virtual “choir-antine and social distance-sing” by singing together an a cappella rendition of “What a wonderful world” dedicated to the UAE frontline workers such as doctors, nurses, and police personnel.
Charlotte dela Tonga, a Dubai-based teacher and an alto singer in the choir, explained to Gulf News: “You, frontliners, are our heroes! We are grateful for everything you’ve done, and you are still doing for us. In the midst of this pandemic, you stepped out and chose to sacrifice your own health to make sure we are all safe. You braved the emergency rooms, stores, roads, our entire community. You work tirelessly to provide essential supplies and care to the vulnerable, you treat the sick with care and compassion. Your dedication gives us hope every day. We are forever grateful. Thank you.”
Another DCS soprano member, Alaine Pabustan, who works as an insurance specialist in Dubai, thanked all the frontliners for their remarkable job in the recovery and protecting the whole world from this crisis. Pabustan said: “In this Earth’s trying time, where nearly no one would dare to step out from their homes, you step out. You step out despite the fact it might cost you your lives, for the sake of saving ours. Thank you for bearing the burden and selflessly serving beyond your call for duty. Though we may not be able to protect you enough with our own efforts in return, may are prayers do. As we are facing this difficult and unprecedented time, let us all take part in the UAE’s goal and mission, and this is to be triumphant in this battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. Let us all stay safe for us to save lives!”
The DCS decided to do this virtual choir video as they miss singing and to remind all that the world is still wonderful. Levy Pamintuan, an architect by profession, and a member of the choir, said: “The Dubai Camerata Singers (DCS) have been singing almost weekly for the past three years to prepare for concerts and competitions, and we've just gotten used to it. Although the ‘stay-at-home’ policy gave time to all of us to rest from rehearsals, it made us miss singing. And with the sudden popularity of video conferencing apps, we thought we could join the bandwagon and try it ourselves. A lot of choirs have been putting up videos of their virtual performances online and the DCS thought as well to contribute the same positivity.”
Dubai-based Filipino Choirmaster Arne Sunico Lubasan, Dubai Camerata Singers, added: “Nothing can stop the choir from singing together, not even this pandemic. I felt there is a need for us to move on and keep the music alive despite the current situation.”
The DCS faced with challenges to produce this virtual choir.
Rhodel Lim Toledo, who was in charge of the video, said: “Video and sound editing are both crucial. Imagine we have 32 members, and thankfully only 19 submitted their parts for this video, otherwise it would take a lot of time for the production.
“We practised individually, and sent out guidelines for virtual choir recording. They have to memorise their part. In recording each video, each member will have to use a player and a recorder. Use a headphone during the video recording for synchronisation, this is supposed to be acapella and they may use the ‘tutti’ (choral music) for guide so they will hear all the voice parts.”
Who are the Dubai Camerata Singers?
The Dubai Camerata Singers is an award-winning vocal group composed of Dubai-based professionals. The ensemble started as a 10-member group of choir singers from the Philippines. From its inception in 2017, the group has evolved into a multi-national crossover chorale with 32 members from the Philippines, Brazil, Chile, India, Ghana, Nigeria and Syria.
Under the musical direction of multi-award winning composer/choirmaster Arne Sunico Lubasan, the DCS continue to thrive on the global musical stage with their diverse repertoire and performance.
The group’s mission is to empower arts and culture, and bring happiness through choral music.