Up Close and Personal with Marnie Setka-Mooney As She Sings Her Way Through the Pandemic

If you read Marnie’s full name, I guess you may be wondering if we are related; the answer is yes!  Marnie is married to my oldest brother Danny, and they live in British Columbia.  Besides being my sister-in-law, Marnie is also a daughter, niece, aunt, wife, mother, grandmother, mom to puppy Willow, and an extraordinary musical artist who earned a B. Mus from the University of BC focusing on Opera performance.

Marnie also has a teaching diploma from Camosun College that is connected to the Victoria Conservatory of Music. Since 1998, Marnie has been a faculty member of the Victoria Conservatory of Music.  To learn more about Marnie’s musical accomplishments, have a look here https://vcm.bc.ca/faculty-members/marnie-setka-mooney/.

The Impacts of Covid on Musicians

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, our world went through and continues to go through massive shifts in how we do business by integrating, learning, and utilizing virtual platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and others.

But what about musicians? How did they cope? How does one teach voice lessons virtually when many platforms are not designed for the singing voice or Music as there is audio latency? Musicians who needed to keep working had to re-invent themselves on the technical side of things. It has undoubtedly been a tough haul, but all the “forced” learning had long-term gains, in that it has changed the way for many in how voice teachers, choral conductors, and Music Together instructors will be teaching Music in the future.

A few words from Marnie,

“It really feels like being a Phoenix rising out of the ashes.  I’m in the process now of resuscitating my
Music Together Mid Island business, anticipating that it will run again this Fall. I had to stop teaching it in
March 2020, and my families were not interested in having the class online, as it’s a family music class
and the families enjoy being together in song, harmonizing, and dancing together. It’s just not the same online.”


Marnie managed, along with her co-conductor, Arlene Overman of Sing Victoria, to keep Sing Victoria choirs going.  They came up with a creative way to sing outside, ensuring that social distance safety measures were in place by singing outside by using hula hoops (one empty in the middle) and pool noodles through all kinds of weather and had to come up with different ways for the children and youth to hold on to their sheet music while singing outside- the usual choral folders weren’t working, so clothes pegs did the trick!

Marnie had to immediately research and learn about online virtual platforms to keep her private voice studio alive and find one that would fit best for music purposes.  She invested quite a bit of money and time learning new platforms and buying the right audio equipment. She kept all her voice students and added them to her studio, which was great and unexpected.

To her surprise, Marnie found a tool that worked perfectly!  She learned how to use Audacity, a recording platform for her virtual concerts and recordings and how to lay down vocal tracks over piano and flute tracks with her long-time friends and fellow musicians with her performing group, “On the ‘Hat.”

Marnie’s friends and professor musicians are pianist & clarinetist Kathryn LeGros, and Diane Berry, flutist, composer, and music editor.

They had all been working with a new platform called Jamkazam that worked beautifully for musicians and allowed us all to rehearse and record together in their three separate home studios – Marnie claims it was a fantastic find! It was this same music platform that allowed Marnie to connect with her voice students.

A Big Shout Out to BC Choral Federation

A big shout out to the mid- Island representative and board of directors for BCCF, working on the Advocacy portfolio and supplying articles from time to time to their monthly newsletter to keep spirits up for the thousands of choristers across BC who live for their weekly choral rehearsals.

Marnie shares,

“I am particularly proud of BCCF’s executive who really stepped up to keep choirs going virtually and connecting conducting and choristers during the pandemic, as well as joining the fight to keep music programs from being cut in the school, especially choirs which are and have always been part of the curriculum, not a ‘frill,’ but a skill set, with all the intellectual as well as spiritual benefits of making and participating in Music Together.

Learn to Sing with Marnie

Marnie teaches various genres, including World, Pop, Opera, Jazz, Folk, Rock, Classical, and Musical Theatre, for all ages.  She is available as a performer, clinician, or presenter. She has a wait-list for private lessons, and she is currently accepting private students.

If you, your children, or someone you know would like to be part of Marnie’s voice lessons, please send her an email at msetkamooney@gmail.com  or call at 250.858.2027.