New Westminster’s favourite a cappella quintet is keeping the music going, quarantine style.
Quayside Voices – the quintet of Stephanie Lam, Maggie Ma, Alyssa Inouye, Justin Pham and Troy Martell – is inviting local audiences to join them on a month-long a cappella journey with the #30DaySongChallenge for COVID-19.
The challenge invites people to share one song a day based on a variety of criteria - such as a song with a colour in the title, a song that reminds you of summer, a song from your preteen years, a song you remember from your childhood and many more.
Many music-lovers are opting to share YouTube videos of the songs they like to listen to, but Quayside Voices is upping the ante and sharing a new recording of their own original arrangements each day.
“We looked at the challenges, then took a browse through our catalogue and realized that we could do most of the days with songs we already had,” explained Lam in an email. “There were a few blank ones, so we’ve actually written some short clips just for the occasion.” (Look out for Day 8, “a song about drugs or alcohol,” and Day 13, “a song you like from the 1970s,” for some new arrangements by Martell and Lam.)
The singers put their performances together using the app Acapella, which lets singers record, synchronize and share their songs – all while working remotely, so everyone can safely maintain their social distance.
Lam noted that, for the singers, being able to make music is an enormous part of their lives.
“Practising music, and then the whole social aspect involved,” she wrote. “Not having a place to go where you can hang out with your closest friends and make meaningful art for three hours leaves a feeling of mourning.”
Not to mention all the places the singers would usually be appearing – this time last year they were preparing for a concert and a slew of community events including the Hyack Festival banquet, Canada Day, Uptown Unplugged, the New West Cultural Crawl and New West Pride.
And, since March, they haven’t been able to get together at their home base at 100 Braid Street Studios, where they’ve met at least once or twice a week since 2016.
It may not be the same as live performance, but at least the virtual endeavours give the singers a place to share their work.
“Social media, live streams and all those sorts of things I think really give artists and musicians some hope to carry on,” Lam wrote. “The reality is that with the physical distancing limitation in place, that this could change the way music is delivered in general.”