Daniel Bates works at Florida Singing Sons in Fort Lauderdale as their 6th Artistic Director. This is his second year working with the all-boys choir ranging from second grade to twelfth grade.
The organization has been around for 45 years and some of Bates’ singers have been part of the program for 10 years.
The pandemic, like most organizations, pushed the Florida Singing Sons into virtual rehearsals over zoom which brought about new struggles as an artistic director. The biggest shift Bates faced was having to create music over zoom with students that keep their microphones muted.
Bates needed to discover a way to get the initial response back from his students. He focused on building the comfortability level of each student so they were confident enough to sing unmuted on zoom, but as a soloist in their home.
Bates was fortunate this spring season to host masked and social distant rehearsals outside with small groups of his students.
“I think it's definitely different to navigate the digital and virtual sphere, but I think we're all finding ways to come together with the community and I think that's the most important thing. To continue to build an artistic community, whether it's virtual or not.” (Daniel Bates)
This past year Bates also took part as an operatic tenor playing the role of Rinuccio in a comedic one-act virtual opera called Gianni Schicchi.
Gianni Schicchi is unique because it was asynchronously filmed all over America and displays a comedic story about a family who comes together to read the will of a family member that passed away.
There were about 30 members involved in the creation of the film: 17 singers, 11 orchestra players, and the creative team who will be attending the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival to discuss in a panel how the project was created and the experiences had.
The Panel will be held Tuesday, March 30, 7 pm - 8:30 pm.
In an interview with Bates, he said “it's [opera] just kind of talked about, maybe mentioned once or twice in life, but most people haven't been to see an opera. To see it in this way, a story that's real and told in a very funny way. I’m excited for people to be exposed to that.”