- Rohan De Lanerolle on how to pull of a performance during the pandemic
It’s an impressive feat to pull off a stellar performance on stage with no in person rehearsals. For a musician, it is the height of professionalism and a mark of how much experience you’ve had in the field. Rohan and Ishan De Lanerolle actually managed to pull this off, at the Dubai Expo no less, with immense praise from the audience who were shocked to find out they had no prior rehearsal before their performance.
We spoke to Rohan who shared some advice and wisdom on how to perform during a pandemic, without any practice.
We first asked him how the opportunity to perform at Dubai Expo came about, to which he told Brunch that his choir received an invite from the Indian High Commission. Once they received the invitation, they had four months to prepare and all of it was done online. “We performed an old repertoire, a Christmas repertoire, as well as some Indian songs. Due to the restrictions, we had to do everything online and it was the very first time I worked with a choir without any physical rehearsals,” he said.
When talking about the actual performance, he shared that the biggest challenge was not being able to rehearse as a group. “It was quite a nightmare, getting the balance was not easy at all.” On the same topic, he told us the choir arrived on the day at 2 a.m. and the performance was to be in the evening, so they had to make do with the very little time they had and work with little to no sleep as well. He said it was “nerve wrecking, to put it mildly” but the performance went off really well and they were received with much applause.
We asked him to share some advice on how to manage such a feat, as most musicians are struggling with the same challenge caused by the pandemic. “Just because you’re in a pandemic, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. The most important thing is to keep the positive vibes going and not think negatively,” he said.
He also added that as a singer, what one can do is to prepare individually. “Have a proper repertoire. Many conductors in Sri Lanka think that learning choir doesn’t work. I think otherwise; you need to look at the positives of the pandemic and make it work.” This is something he strongly believes in and is how he still pulls off an amazing performance despite all obstacles. He shared that it is a matter of mindset more than anything. “Anything is possible, even though it’s from behind a screen. Keep your passion and interest, keep it current and you’ll thrive.”
Sharing further advice, he said that even if you can’t perform with a full choir and you have limitations, online learning is still possible and will work.
When talking about his favourite moment during the Expo from a musical point of view, he said that pulling off six performances without any preparations was huge. “No one could believe it, they thought we’d rehearsed for months but when we said we met that day, people were in shock, so it was a moment of pride for all of us.”