(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) -- Members of the St. Joseph Community Chorus might have been wearing masks on Monday night, but at least they were singing in front of an audience.
The group had its first formal concert in nearly two years, since before the beginning of the pandemic.
Members say they have missed performing on stage.
"The crowd gives us the energy we need to make the music that we can make," said Cheryl Rasmussen, chorus administrator.
When the pandemic started hitting hard, there were several Covid outbreaks among choirs nationally. Experts at that time recommended against group singing. It was heartbreaking for the 50 members of the Community Chorus.
"A lot of us felt like our lives had just stopped," said member John Cool. "Our freedom of expression to create just went out the window. We didn't realize how much we'd miss it until it was gone."
For any performer, they say it's all about the stage and being in front of an audience.
"It's been very, very difficult for everyone in society.but for performers and singers it's been just a terrible thing," said member Janet Steury.
Monday's concert was extra special for Cool. He was able to finally have the group perform a piece he wrote the lyrics to almost two years ago. The pandemic had delayed it's premiere.
Perhaps fittingly for Monday, Cool's song is named "Return to Song." Members admit to Monday's performance being a little bittersweet as the group has lost some key members who have passed in the last year.
"We'll all have different memories as we sing that song but we know those people that passed before us would want us to return to song and move forward.That's what we're doing," said Rasmussen.
Some of Cool's lyrics include the phrase "Some sing because they can, we sing because we must," which described the mood of the St. Joseph Community Chorus members exactly on Monday
"Singing with my friends and making music together is a wonderful thing," Cool said. "Music heals you and lifts you up and enlightens you. I couldn't be happier."
The chorus already has planned their next concert. They have scheduled a holiday concert for December.