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Replacing choral folders with iPads

The excellent 9-voice male vocal Ensemble Clerestory  is performing a series of concerts in the next two weeks in Oakland (1/21), Palo Alto (1/22), Belvedere-Tiburon (1/27) and San Francisco (1/29). The concerts feature the typical fare of a wide range of choral music from many periods.

Perhaps less typical is the replacement of traditional choral folders with iPads. Although this should appeal to the green leanings of Bay Area audiences, it begs the question whether iPad electricity consumption offsets the use of paper. The ensemble had to obtain arduous permission from publishers to digitize the printed music.

This introduces a few kinks in the concert’s lighting: the screen illumination projects in distinct squares onto the back wall and can illuminate singers’ faces with a kind of campfire horror story underglow. Arguably, this is historically authentic, if one considers lighting before electricity and gas did indeed light performers from below.

Is this the way of the future or just an iFad? Attend the concert to find out.

Male choral ensemble Clerestory