UConn Choirs Go Virtual with ‘Old Connecticut’ Alma Mater

Unable to perform in their normal venues because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UConn Choirs have taken to the Internet. ()

When the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of performances in School of Fine Arts venues, the UConn Choirs shifted to creating video performances as part of their online instruction.

Two virtual performances of the UConn Chamber Singers drew nearly 20,000 views – “Abendlied, Op. 69/3 (Evening Song),” a sacred motet by Josef Rheinberger, and “That Lonesome Road,” an a capella composition by five-time Grammy winner James Taylor from his 1981 recording “Daddy Loves His Work,” which drew praise from Taylor on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.

During a virtual meeting of the School of Fine Arts leadership, there was a suggestion to have the choirs work on a virtual performance of “Old Connecticut,” also known as “UConn Alma Mater.”

Jamie Spillane, director of choral studies, brought the idea to the UConn Choirs students. Scott Patrick ’21 (SFA), a music education major in the Integrated Bachelor/Masters program, and Will Mandelbaum ’21 (SFA), also a music education major, volunteered to lead the project.

Spillane set guidelines for the virtual recording in an email to students, Patrick created master guide tracks, the student musicians all created videos on their own and uploaded them to a hard drive, and Mandelbaum mixed the audio and video and edited the final production.