Staying connected: How PV’s choir is reaching out to nursing homes despite the pandemic

%E2%80%9CChamber+Choir+sticks+to+tradition+by+live-streaming+a+collection+of+carols+to+nursing+homes.+Through+technology%2C+PV%E2%80%99s+Choir+believes+that+the+community+can+safely+celebrate+the+upcoming+holidays.%E2%80%9D%0A

David Beale at Unsplash.con

“Chamber Choir sticks to tradition by live-streaming a collection of carols to nursing homes. Through technology, PV’s Choir believes that the community can safely celebrate the upcoming holidays.”

Amelia Prescher, Infographic Manager

Every year, Pleasant Valley’s Chamber Choir takes time out of their week to sing carols at different places during the holidays. But this year, the COVID-19 pandemic kept the choir out of hospices, hospitals and nursing homes.

Before the pandemic set foot into the country, the Chamber Choir would annually sing a new collection of carols across the Quad Cities.

However, nursing homes in the Quad Cities have already had their fair share of struggles with the pandemic. In Rock Island, the Centennial Care Center has had 16 deaths and 114 cases related to the pandemic.

Other nursing facilities such as Riverview Manor Healthcare in Pleasant Valley, Good Samaritan Society of Davenport and The Kahl Home in Davenport have had 58 cases altogether.

These cases prevented the Chamber Choir from singing in person, but they did not stop the choir from spreading joy during the holidays.

One event, in particular, is the Festival Of Trees. Typically, thousands of viewers would gather around at the fundraising event in downtown Rock Island once a year. The Festival Of Trees contains parades, visual arts surrounding the holidays and choirs such as the PV Chamber Choir for center stage entertainment.

When the Festival of Trees was canceled, the nonprofit organization broadcasted a live televised special celebration on Nov. 21. The Chamber Choir chimed in by including a selection of carols into the live stream for viewers to hear.

In attempts to include the nursing home into the community for the holidays, PV Choir Director Megan Byrne has conducted several Christmas songs for the facilities to listen to online, as well.

“It’s a way for them to be a part of the community and keeps the tradition alive,” Byrne said. “They love to see young people sing, even if it’s through a live recording.”

Furthermore, Byrne and the Chamber Choir spend hours every week performing seven carols such as Deck the Halls, White Christmas and Still Still Still, to make something special for the holidays.

With drastic changes in schedules, Byrne could not be more proud of how dedicated the choir students have been towards maintaining attendance and a bright attitude. “It’s not easy being six feet apart from your friends and having to sing in constricting masks for class,” she said. “But my students do it without any complaints. Every day, they strive to harmonize each song that’s sent their way.”

Senior Uma Kasichainula has been an avid participant in Chamber Choir and jazz choir for the past two years. Despite the changes this year, Kasichainula maintains a positive outlook. “COVID-19 is a bummer, but if we are able to spread holiday cheer while still keeping everyone safe, then that’s what really matters,” she said.

As long as the virus stays in our region, the PV Chamber Choir will continue to sing spaced out and facially covered. Byrne hopes to reach the public from the harmony of PV’s singing community so everyone can have a flicker of hope in the darkness of 2020.