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Steeple Newsletter

Let's Sings (almost) Together!

First Church is going to try a project for our online worship.  We're going to attempt two "virtual congregation hymns", and this project is open to the whole congregation, whether or not you think you are a great singer or someone who can't carry much of a tune.  I think hymn singing is like getting together to sing "Happy Birthday" to someone: it's more about how everyone joins together in singing good wishes to the birthday person; it has much less to do with each pitch being perfect.

July 22, 2020

First Church is going to try a project for our online worship.  We're going to attempt two "virtual congregation hymns" and this project is open to the whole congregation whether or not you think you are a great singer or someone who can't carry much of a tune. I think hymn singing is like getting together to sing "Happy Birthday" to someone: it's more about how everyone joins together in singing good wishes to the birthday person it has much less to do with each pitch being perfect.Below you will find a link to pdf images of the words and notes like what you would find in the hymnal. 
There are also links to what we call 'guide tracks'.  In order to get everyone singing together when you're not in the same room together at the same time we need everyone to sing along to the 'guide track' video.  If you're used to singing the melody and don't know how to sing harmony click on the links that say "soprano / melody".  If you'd like to sing harmonies and you're a lower-voiced woman you'd choose "Alto" if you're a lower voiced man you'd choose "Bass" if you're a higher-voiced male or a very low-voiced woman you'd choose "Tenor."  However you identify choose a video that seems right for your voice.  You will be singing along with this video when you make your own video.Listen to the guide track a few times.
Maybe the first time you just use your eyes on the pdf image of the words and notes and listen to the singer (Bill or Liza) singing your part. Then perhaps the second time through you sing along quietly noting where you may accidentally get off from the guide track and try fixing it the next time through. Please try to sing everything the way it is on the guide track: you might like singing one of the hymns faster or slower but in order to get everyone lined up we had to choose one version.
The important part of recording is this: we don't want to hear the original video we just want to hear you. 
When you're ready to record perhaps you'll go to your computer and plug in some headphones to your computer and play the guide track on your computer while recording yourself singing on your phone.  Or perhaps you have ear buds for your phone and you'll use your phone as the 'guide track player' and you can use your computer web-cam to record. Or perhaps you have a child or grandchild or neighbor who could record you on their phone while you're listening via ear buds on your computer or on your phone. If you don't have headphones there are cheap ones at CVS or Walgreens. If you don't think you have a friend or relative who could help you out with this email Bill and we'll set up church equipment for you in the sanctuary (in a socially-distant method) and record you here.
Another important rule: we want videos not just audio. You will need to record with your "Camera" app on your iPhone not your "Voice Memo" app for example. Hopefully your video will include your whole head and some shoulder. If you include your whole living room your video might only have a few pixels of your face and we'd rather see you singing than a blur. I've found that 'horizontal' vs 'vertical' videos end up mostly the same but I found 'horizontal' was a little easier to work with.Finally: you're not going to like how your videos sound. It's not going to sound good at all. It's supposed to be accompanied and there will be no accompaniment added yet to your voice.
There are supposed to be a bunch of singers and it's just you. And there will have been no processing added to your sound giving some slight reverb as if you were singing in a large sanctuary with dozens of people for example. You will have to trust that we'll take everyone's videos and blend them into something beautiful.When you've got videos recorded the hardest part is getting those large files to the church. The files tend to be big: 120Mb. If you have no idea about file size don't worry. Just know that videos are very large and you can't generally email files that large so we use other sharing methods. There's a website called DropBox where we have storage room for First Church.The link for the folder to copy your files to is here. If you sync your phone with your computer, you should be able to copy the videos from your phone to this website by just dragging the files onto that window. If you can't figure out DropBox there are other ways to get me your file. iPhones can use MailDrop for large files if you go to email your videos to me at , Apple will tell you "hey, that's really large, you're going to have to send that via MailDrop."  What will happen is that I'll get an email from your phone with a link to the file then I can download those files directly to my computer.  If that's confusing too there are other methods like a USB stick or AirDrop or the Yale Secure File Transfer etc.  Since there are lots of nuances to this process this is the part of the process that may require some one-on-one texts / emails / phone calls to figure out what works.  But once we figure it out you'll be able to do the same thing for any future projects. 
Contact or text/call 203-530-0392 for help. We will need to get any video before the end of July.
HYMN #1: JOYFUL JOYFUL WE ADORE THEE
Stanzas 1 and 3 for "Joyful, Joyful" are sung in UNISON ONLY Stanza 2 will be sung in parts by those who want.pdf of score
HYMN #2: BE THOU MY VISION
Hymn is sung in unison throughout: everybody uses the same guide track.pdf of score  guide track for melody 
When you've recorded your hymn videos if you can put them in Dropbox use this link to the folder. Otherwise let me know via email, text, or phone call what works for you to get the video to me: AirDrop / MailDrop / etc.
Bill Speed Director Music Ministries 

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