Local a cappella group gets creative to make holiday music during pandemic

When it comes to the holidays, so many of the traditions we cherish most just can’t happen this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Seattle-based a cappella group Puget Sound Company is finding a way to keep the music going. 

During a sunny December day, on a sidewalk in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, members of the group Lindsay Dawson and Alexander Oki could be heard doing what they love.

“Joyful and triumphant,” they sang together, her voice hitting the high notes, his the lows. 

As a woman moved in closer to listen, Dawson and Oki are reminded, it’s hardly the crowds they have grown accustomed to during the holidays. Still, it brings back memories.

They sang outside Lupo, a pizza restaurant. To them, it's a pretty special place.

 “I miss this place,” Oki said.  

Inside Lupo's for last holiday season, their a cappella group made up of eight passionate performers put on a concert, that had their families and friends feeling pretty festive. 

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“I feel like when all of us are in there, we’re singing, that’s when it just feels like we are who we are the most,” Dawson said looking through the window of the restaurant.  

They knew, because of COVID-19, singing for crowds was not in the Christmas cards this season. Still, they were all set to live-stream their holiday set. They had even found a studio in Shoreline that would allow them to perform together while still staying socially distanced. 

“Then of course the third wave hit. We were like, what are we going to do?" Oki said.  

New restrictions in Washington silenced their a cappella plans.

"Of course it was a bummer to see all these plans that felt secure and right, and would allow us to be in the same space, which all of us have so missed," Dawson said.

The idea of not singing together for the holidays didn’t sit well with this group. So, they got creative, to keep the a cappella going.

“Most of us had to make makeshift studios in our own homes,” Oki said. 

The members who didn't create studios for both audio and video. Recording at home comes with some challenges. 

“I do my recordings in my closet because my living room is too reverberant,” Oki explained. 

Dawson chimed in, “I sing underneath a blanket and record into my phone, it just dampens the sound around me.” 

Eight individuals all recorded tracks and videos, that when blended, created one beautiful sound. Call it, perserverance during a pandemic.

“That holiday spirit is so resilient. It’s still there," Dawson said. "There is not one ounce of the reality that we are in right now that can remove that joy.”  

The Puget Sound Company plans to put their holiday songs on YouTube and Spotify. 

Yes, the virus may keep us from gathering or singing together in-person this holiday season, but it can not stop this group from making music.

In turn, that may help the rest of us be a bit merrier too. 

Here are two of their holiday performances: