Waiting out coronavirus, Pronto and Shelton harmonizing NEK music community

in Arts and Entertainment/COVID-19/Newport/News

NEWPORT — For Tod Pronto and Cynthia Shelton, nothing can stop the music.

Hunkered down in reaction to the global pandemic, the two have teamed up to form a “Socially Distant Chorus,” inviting the community to harmonize and play along with Pronto on his version of “What a Wonderful World.”

So here are the rules:

You listen to the .mp3 version of Pronto’s song through your headphones and use your cell phone to record yourself singing along.

Shelton will put it all together and everyone will sing along as a chorus in the edited version.

If you want to participate, write to Shelton at: nekgigs@gmail.com and she will send you a copy of the .mp3 as well as provide additional instructions.

“We were looking for a general theme of hopefulness and beauty, as well as a song that is well known enough that everyone could sing along,” Pronto said. “What a Wonderful World has been a staple of my live performances for years. As a songwriter, it’s just one of those rare perfect songs that you wish you were smart enough to write yourself.”

Pronto released a studio version of What a Wonderful World back in 2016 and says it’s one of his favorite songs.

“When Cynthia approached me about doing a virtual sing-along I just couldn’t resist.”

Before COVID-19 interrupted the world as we know it, the two had been talking about several different projects they wanted to do to bring the community together.

Suddenly, anything that could unite the community became even more important than it already was.

“The main concept is just to bring people together and focus on the positive,” Pronto said. “We see every day how heart aching this situation is, but it’s also important to remember how beautiful the gift life is.”

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