City Bar Chorus Performing From Within (and Thinking Outside) the Box; Auditions for Fall

Amidst the physical separation imposed by the pandemic, the 115-voice New York City Bar Chorus has still maintained a busy and varied virtual schedule on Zoom, starting in early March with sectional rehearsals and adding innovative touches such as virtual open-mic nights, parties and even book and movie clubs.

As a next key step, the chorus is especially gratified to have found ways to resume its core mission of community outreach performances. The chorus partnered with longtime partners SAGE NYC (which supports LGBT elders) on June 30 and Visions at Selis Manor (which provides services for the blind and visually impaired) on July 21 to produce private live musical hours for the populations they serve. Photos from the SAGE event are viewable at this Facebook link.

As is known all too well by anyone recently attempting to lead family and friends in singing “Happy Birthday” at a virtual party, current group video-call systems tend to have a range of time lags and therefore do not permit large-group synchronized real-time performance. CBC Musical Director Kathryn E. Schneider has still created a deft mix of outreach programming, including live solos by chorus members, video and audio clips of past performances (with chorus members lip-syncing live) and live sing-alongs with the audience. Audience and chorus members alike reported that the virtual events felt surprisingly similar to prior in-person concerts, with Kathy’s warm “emcee” interaction with the audience holding it all together.

Since March, Kathy and the chorus have become known internationally for their outside-the-box virtual rehearsal and performance ideas, with Facebook posts garnering more than 20,000 views and Kathy speaking recently on a panel sponsored by Choral Arts New England on how choral groups around the world continue to perform at this challenging time.

If you’re interested in joining the City Bar Chorus as it continues creatively to make a difference in the life of New York City, please fill out its pre-audition survey at Virtual auditions for all voice parts will be held in August. Also, if you have video or audio editing skills and would like to help support the chorus in its ongoing virtual activities, please write to