Who were those masked singers?

Medieval mask: The ROH Renaissance Choir on Bunbdeena Beach with masks. Picture: Justin Case
Medieval mask: The ROH Renaissance Choir on Bunbdeena Beach with masks. Picture: Justin Case

Nine members of the 25-person ROH Renaissance Choir recently volunteered to do a singing rehearsal with masks for an experiment at Bundeena Beach while observing the government social distancing requirements.

The ROH Renaissance Choir was established nine years agp and members come from across Sutherland Shire.

Their popular annual shows have included Renaissance Secrets and Scandals, The Life and Music of Van Gogh, The Genius of Da Vinci Decoded and aA Knight to Remember.

But they were missing rehearing together during the COVID-19 lockdown and decided to try a socially distanced seaside-sing-along to tide them over before they are able to take ot the stage together again.

"It was fun but challenging," said Helen Armstrong, one of the members. "We can't wait to get back to having our group all together again.

"We tried Zoom to find our virtual voice, as many videos have been released featuring choirs performances with Zoom.

"But the unseen reality is that those videos take hours of editing for a few minutes of music. The singers are not even in the same conference call.

"Each individual is alone at home recording their part.

"The time lag in Zoom makes it impossible to sing together, although it's good for keeping in contact and keeping you safe.

"For our choir members it's the sense of community, our expression of humanity. We really miss our musical family.

"For many, singing in our choir is one of life's great joys, improving happiness and health, while forming bonds with others and right now COVID-19 has silenced our choir.

"We feel strongly that we must find a way for choirs in Australia to start up again as safely as we can.

"Choral music has been one of the major social casualties of COVID-19, with over two-million choirs around the world on hold.

"Being on the beach gave us a sense of hope that we will sing together one day soon," Ms Armstrong said.

"And we discovered that singing in a mask is possible."