Questions and Answers
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about the Driveway Choir project.
These answers were mostly written by Kathryn and Bryce Denney; other groups may have different policies.
What is a "driveway choir"?
The Driveway Choir project provides a safe way to sing together safely, with no latency, using audio gear.
We also use the term driveway choir to describe one of our scheduled events, where we lead or help groups to experience this way of singing together.
How often do you hold driveway choir events?
We've done one or two events per week.
How much do your services cost?
We do not accept any money when we help your choir sing together. If you feel as if you want to contribute, we suggest donating to out-of-work musicians or donating to the business that owns the parking lot in which you are rehearsing.
Why do you do this?
Because we love to sing, and we think that human beings need to make music together. It is a social, musical, soul-enriching experience that is safe and communal.
We'd like to host an event for our group. When are you next free?
Feel free to contact us. We do have a long waiting list, however.
There are other people in Massachusetts that we know of who have similar ways of having choral rehearsals, and we can help you get in touch with them.
How can we learn to do this, or build our own system?
We encourage groups to seek out people with audio/tech experience and ask, "Could you help us to do that?" In addition to the videos and instructions on this website (see our Technical Details page), there is now a community of people who have done tech-assisted rehearsals and even performances. We share information and help each other all the time. Even if we can't do an event with you personally, perhaps we could advise your tech people or lend equipment.
If you're hosting or attending an event...
How many singers may I invite?
Normally we use up to 24 wireless microphones. Sometimes we add a second mixer and up to 8 additional wired microphones for a large event.
If this is a Big Sing, the answer is either 50 or 100, depending on the town and its COVID risk level at that moment, but only 30 of them will have microphones.
Is it OK to sing with the window open?
Since singing together can spread COVID, people need to be more than 12 feet apart when singing. However, if there is one pane of glass between you and the next singer who is not in your bubble, you're fine.
Open the driver's window and close the passenger's, or vice versa, for fresh air and safety.
Can I make a recording of our event?
YES! We usually record all of every rehearsal. You do not need your own recording device. We can send you a recording of each piece, or of the whole rehearsal, so that you can edit it or share it.
What if I don't want to make a recording?
You don't have to use it. We won't publish anything you're not proud of.
What if we are in a flat parking lot where my singers won't be able to see the conductor?
We can bring an 18" high very sturdy toy box, which works well for this.
For very large events, we once borrowed a marching band podium to raise the conductor 3-4 feet off the ground. It was a little scary but very effective.
What should my choir members bring to the rehearsal?
a water bottle
your music, either printed or on an electronic device
a portable radio (optional, but often helpful)
dress in layers, to prepare for a variety of temperatures
What are the choices for accompaniment?
We can bring an 88-key electric piano, or use your piano if it has a 1/4 inch TRS connector. If you have a pianist, he or she can play our piano, or yours. If you don't have a pianist, Bryce is a good one and Kathryn is a mediocre one.
You can also pre-record either piano, organ, or other instruments, and we can play the accompaniment track during your rehearsal. We can record while playing a pre-recorded accompaniment. Some church choirs like to use music from a driveway choir recording session for a weekend worship service.
Are we allowed to take photos of our event?
YES! We love photos and videos. When else will we be able to gather cars in a big ring and sing together? We hope that this is a very temporary, very unusual method of music-making that we will all look back on and say "Whew! We were still able to sing occasionally during the pandemic."
Can two people in the same car share a mic if we're in the same family bubble?
No, sharing a mic doesn't work well. The microphones are very directional, and will pick up only the sounds that are directly in front of them.
Will two mics in the same car interfere with each other?
Usually no. They are each on distinct frequencies.
But wireless mics can be sneaky. If you have trouble, we may swap your mic with a different one.
Can I use a hearing aid with this technology?
Yes. Several of our members have had hearing aids and experienced no problems.
What should I do if my radio is not in sync with the rest of the singers?
We have often seen had trouble with newer Subaru and Lexus radios. They have features that can cause the radio sound to be delayed, sometimes by many seconds.
If this happens, flash your lights and ask for help. The organizers can lend you a portable radio instead.
Will my car battery die if I have it on half power for two hours?
Maybe. We usually have one in 24 cars that need a jump start at the end. We carry jumper cables.
This is why we recommend bringing a portable battery-powered radio, if one is available.