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The Forsyth Philharmonic keeps the show going on — virtually
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The Forsyth Philharmonic released a virtual performance of “Mock Morris” by composer Percy Grainger on Wednesday, April 28, 2020. (Forsyth County News screengrab)

The Forsyth Philharmonic has not been able to hold rehearsals since the novel coronavirus pandemic hit, but that has not stopped them from making music together.

The local community orchestra group recently released a virtual performance of “Mock Morris,” an early 20th-century piece by Australian composer Percy Grainger — with each member playing their parts at home.

“Music is community,” said Rachel Landers, the group’s co-director along with her husband, Jason. “We wanted to show that we can still bring people together, even if it’s in a nontraditional way.”

 The pandemic has hit musicians hard, Landers said. Virtually all bands, choruses and orchestras canceled events and rehearsals, leaving musicians without their usual creative outlet. Music students have been without in-person lessons. Most members of community performance groups, like Forsyth Philharmonic, have regular jobs, and some are now without employment.

Landers said the Forsyth Philharmonic has tried to do its part to raise spirits in the community. The double reeds section released two videos of virtual performances this past month of Queen’s rock ballad “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Eric Carmen’s “All By Myself.” Landers and several other members, including Elisa Fahey, Jessica McAllister and Nancy Walter, have also sewed masks for health care workers at local hospitals.

Landers’s latest idea was the virtual performance by the entire group. She selected the song, sent the sheet music to each member who then recorded their part on their phone. To stay in sync, each member followed the same tempo on a metronome.

The members then sent their videos to Landers, who edited them together using Final Cut Pro X. A member of the horn section, Travis Boyette, edited and balanced the sound.

The group uploaded the finished product on its YouTube page Wednesday.

“Bands, orchestras, and choruses are ‘musical families,’” Landers said. “There’s just nothing quite like making music with other people.