Hear a Harlem Choir Rejoice Again

In Harlem, a neighborhood with hundreds of churches — one of which, Elmendorf Reformed Church, dates back to 1660 — choirs aren’t relegated to backing up the pastor. They are a primary attraction for church members and tourists alike. Many of the local gospel choirs are well-known internationally — the topic of must-see travel lists — and before the pandemic they drew hundreds of visitors each week.

For choirs, singing online was technically challenging; the experience felt disjointed and the results were often disappointing. For churchgoers, watching services from home was lonely. They were grateful for the connection but it wasn’t what it once was. They longed to pray and sing together and they missed the shared experience of worshiping — in particular, the experience of hearing their church choirs.

By Tariro Mzezewa, for The New York Times

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