On Thursday, August 20, Signum Classics will begin releasing the COVID-19 Sessions. Recorded on March 17, 19, and 20 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the COVID-19 sessions came together quickly as society began to shut down amidst the growing outbreak in the United States.

“Cantus tour dates and home concerts were being canceled and it was clear there would be only a limited window in which to sing together before the world went on pause,” says Paul Scholtz, tenor.

The artists recorded these 19 tracks thanks to the expertise of members Chris Foss (audio) and Jacob Christopher (video) and with an enormous amount of uncertainty about what the next weeks and months would bring. The COVID-19 Sessions were first released on YouTube and Facebook in the spring of 2020 and racked up millions of views, prompting Signum to release the tracks internationally on digital music providers like Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music and Amazon Digital in higher than CD – quality audio. The ensemble’s performance of “Finlandia” by Jean Sibelius will be the first of the COVID19 Sessions to be released on Signum, followed by repertoire as varied as Ēriks Ešenvalds“Stars,” Hildegard von Bingen’s sincere “O frondens virga,” and Abbie Betinis’ haunting “Be Like the Bird.”

“What would social distancing and prohibitions on large gatherings mean for vocal music, our communities, and the world at large?” continues Scholtz. “Cantus’ vision is to give voice to shared human experiences and what better way than to offer these performances amidst this great turmoil and uncertainty. We hope you can find yourself and your experience reflected somewhere in these sessions. The pieces you will hear span a great breadth of emotion, from joy to sorrow to wonder to pain. We hope you will find the performances themselves informed by the emotional states in which they were recorded — heightened at different times in different ways.”

MAKING OF VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERQ_U_ZXHm0&feature=emb_title