Post Pandemic Virtual / Zoom Sessions

Post Pandemic Virtual / Zoom Sessions

Many, if not most, of us have “survived” the pandemic by participating in various virtual sessions, whether on Zoom or otherwise. While virtual sessions are in no way a substitute for live in person sessions, along with a number of others, I have found a lot of benefit from being able to share information as well as tunes with others around the world, who I would never have even met otherwise.

I am opening this discussion to share thoughts on the subject and information about sessions that may be continuing in one form or another as live sessions begin to open up. One such session I have been attending pretty regularly is Michael Eskins’ “Ould Sod” session. Although the Ould Sod sessions are resuming as live sessions on Tuesday nights, he is continuing a separate virtual session on Thursdays. The most current details of the session can be found here:

http://michaeleskin.com/session

In order to avoid opening up information on any other sessions to the possibility of hacking by “Zoom Bombers” I would suggest you NOT post the details of any other sessions here, but rather information on how to contact the session leader, with their permission of course.

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Re: Post Pandemic Virtual / Zoom Sessions

I think we are still some way off getting back to regular pub sessions here (Edinburgh) with there still being restrictions on live music and Covid new diagnoses spirally upwards again, though quite a few people are having private sessions in their own gardens or houses (still quite limited on numbers).
I would hope that some, at least, of the online sessions which have kept us going over these last 15 months would continue even after live sessions can resume; among my own friends there are a number of us who have health, mobility or transport issues, for whom being able to just play from their own homes allows them to participate in more sessions, albeit that they are online. Numbers “attending” the Zoom sessions I have been hosting have dropped in recent weeks, partly as some members go off on holiday or just generally get out and about more: time will tell whether it’s worth keeping them going, but it’s still worth it for even 4 or 5 people (compared with the 10-12 we used to get): you get more turns to lead tunes!
And yes, on the subject of accumulating tunes: I have a whole big lever arch folder full of tunes collected over the same 15 months!

Re: Post Pandemic Virtual / Zoom Sessions

My plan is to keep hosting The Ould Sod Virtual Session on Zoom for as long as players continue to show up. Numbers are down a bit, used to get 25-30, now closer to 15-20, but that’s fine.

Re: Post Pandemic Virtual / Zoom Sessions

I’m afraid we are nowhere near “post pandemic” yet. 🙁

In Endinburgh and The Lothians, cases are at record levels but the powers that be don’t seem to worry any more and are still promising us the moon by the end of Summer.

Re: Post Pandemic Virtual / Zoom Sessions

While I realize it’s not true in the UK and other areas, many regions of the USA are moving beyond the pandemic shutdowns, and many live sessions are restarting in-person.

Zoom sessions have become their own thing with their own challenges and opportunities, particularly for newer players.

I’d love to hear about other open Zoom sessions that are still being held on a regular basis even after local sessions are restarting in-person.

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Had a conversation about this only yesterday, at the end of the first live session in eighteen months. (A one-off arrangement, under an awning in a pub garden, with table service and interpersonal distancing observed). For reasons mentioned above, there was a definite willingness to see E-sessions continue - although whether they will or not remains to be seen once people get re-accustomed to indoor collective playing . There’s a lot to be said for them in respect of the inclusion of people from other parts of the world (in our case, Germany and France) and their value in proliferating tunes that we might not otherwise have come across.

The Zoom session I’ve been joining hasn’t been specifically Irish-based, though. A lot of English, Breton, Swedish and misc. European tunes in this one. Might there be a difference in Zoom-longevity between sessions accepting a wide range of material as against those with a more defined focus?

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Re: Post Pandemic Virtual / Zoom Sessions

The world will not be ‘post-pandemic’ for some time.

Here’s the current situation in Ireland.

In the North pubs have reopened, but live music of any kind is not allowed.

In the Republic pubs with outdoor seating have reopened, but, with a rise in infections from the Delta variant, there’s not a chance that the planned allowance of indoor drinking in pubs, due early next month, will take place.

Willie Week and the South Sligo Summer School will both be operating online this Summer, but not the Joe Mooney week in Drumshanbo.

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Re: Post Pandemic Virtual / Zoom Sessions

Sorry to hear about the terrible situation in other areas with live music, but Zouk8 is specifically asking about other open Zoom sessions.

Re: Post Pandemic Virtual / Zoom Sessions

Of my two weekly sessions, one has moved back to in person (albeit, limited in size, but that pub is small enough, we were always pretty limited in size). The other one is still online for the foreseeable future. (The pub/restaurant that hosts that one is so slammed with business, combined with their inability to find enough employees, it may be that way until September when the extra unemployment benefits are set to run out – depending on the impact of the variants, of course).

So my Wednesday session is still on Zoom, but it’s different than most Zoom sessions, because the core players are playing ‘live’ together on JamKazam, and then we use Zoom for video, overflow, and for people to join and play along (while muted). That session is from 7PM - 10PM MDT (Denver), which makes it difficult for people not in a nearby timezone… We will NOT be playing this coming Wednesday. But anyone interested in joining on a future Wednesday can PM me, and I will get you the details.

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Personally, after 1.5 years I’m starting to dislike zoom sessions and am not turning up as often.

After 8 hours of mainly zoom for work, it just feels like going back to work/not fun anymore.
Will be interesting to see if this changes when we start to go back to offices more/zoom becomes less of a thing in the working day.
Would also be interesting if this doesn’t have the same effect on retired people/people who don’t use zoom during the daytime.

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Very true, belayatron, having heard people who do have to use Zoom or Microsoft Teams for work saying that they are “all Zoomed out” by the end of a working day! For myself, I am retired as are many of my fellow session members, and at least some of our sessions happen during daytime hours, e.g. 10.30.am or 2pm local time. The folk club I host on Zoom still happens at 8pm as do other sessions, sticking to their original pre-Covid times.

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Gigs and sessions have started up again around here, but we decided to still do our Zoom session every two weeks. It’s nice keeping up with friends across the country.

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belayatron, I can certainly understand where you are coming from! I am retired now, about 6 years, but I can still remember all too well not wanting to look at a computer when I came home, after having spent all day (and then some) either on a computer or in meetings!

For me its as much about making new contacts and getting new ideas for tunes as much as it is playing tunes. One thing I have gained from all of this is a deeper feeling of how supportive our global community of Irish/Celtic musicians is.

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Re: Post Pandemic Virtual / Zoom Sessions

Here in Seattle 2 of the 4 weekly open pub sessions that were running pre-pandemic are scheduled to resume this week. One of the 4 is gone forever as that pub has closed permanently. In King County (which includes Seattle) over 73% of residents age 16+ are now fully immunized, and the State of Washington has lifted indoor masking and occupancy limits (with certain exceptions). As a retired public health employee I am naturally cautious and anxiously watching the increasing prevalence of the gamma (Brazil) variant, which is beating out the delta and steadily catching up with the currently prevalent alpha (UK) variant in our county and our state. The online version of the bookstore/cafe session I had been running pre-pandemic has attracted a few participants from distant locales that are not likely to reopen anytime soon, so I am in discussion with the store’s proprietor about hosting a hybrid session wherein one of the seats in our circle will be occupied by my webcam on a tripod. I’ll place a USB microphone with omnidirectional pickup pattern in the middle of the table at which we are seated. My computer will be hooked up to the store’s router via Ethernet. Online participants can then join in via Zoom, but probably will not be able to lead a set, though perhaps they can join in the between-tunes banter. I’ve not heard of anyone trying this before, but I am eager to hear from anyone who can tell me why this shouldn’t work! For this weekend, however, we will remain on Zoom only as I continue to watch for signs of a 5th surge in COVID-19 cases.