Virtual choir brings doctors together for charity cover song
Published Sunday, January 3, 2021 6:39PM PST Last Updated Sunday, January 3, 2021 7:32PM PST
VANCOUVER -- The song is called "Ordinary Day," but the way a recent rendition of it came together was anything but ordinary.
At the suggestion of a doctor in Ottawa, members of the Vancouver-based Phoenix Chamber Choir helped put together a cover of Great Big Sea's song, uniting the voices of hundreds of physicians from all over the country, who each sang their parts in isolation.
"We had over 230 singers who are medical doctors from across Canada," said Nicholle Andrews, artistic director for Phoenix Chamber Choir.
"We started our rehearsal in November and we had two online rehearsals where the doctors joined us for an hour to go through the music and make sure they knew the parts to sing."
It's not the first time Phoenix Chamber Choir, which hasn't been able to meet in person for months because of COVID-19, has been involved in a virtual recording.
The group's coronavirus-inspired parody of Billy Joel's "The Longest Time" has been viewed more than two million times.
"I think that not being able to sing together on a weekly basis with people that I think of as my choir family, I think it's been really hard for a lot of us," said Dr. Carolyn Shiau, who not only sings in the choir, but also co-edited the latest video.
"A lot of us use it as a way to destress," Shiau said.
If the virtual choir has been a way for its members to maintain their mental health during the pandemic, this latest offering aims to extend that benefit to others.
The video is being used to raise funds and awareness for the A Dollar A Day Foundation, a charity co-founded by Great Big Sea's lead singer Alan Doyle that supports frontline mental health and addiction programs across Canada.
Unbeknownst to the doctors when they were rehearsing and recording, Doyle did a surprise verse for the video.
He and Andrews grew up together in Newfoundland, so she asked him to participate in the project.
"This piece, to me, represents a thank you, even though the physicians are the ones singing," Andrews said. "I was smiling from ear to ear when it all came together."
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Nafeesa Karim