Russ Gannon (Narration), Bryce Denney, Kathryn Denney
Movie Review: The Drive to Sing
It's safe to say that by now I've seen just about every angle there is to see when it comes to pandemic-themed films, a favorite topic of both studios and micro-budget indie filmmakers since COVID-19 showed up on the scene in early 2020. While I can't say I haven't seen anything like The Drive to Sing, the feature documentary is a refreshingly upbeat and spirited film celebrating the creative spirit and the lengths people will go to in order to keep it alive even when it seems like the entire world is shut down.
Directed by Bryce Denney and produced by his wife Kathryn Denney, The Drive to Sing is an award-winning documentary that enters the world of choirs and how they managed to keep their music alive during a time of global fear and isolation. The Denneys themselves are both passionately musical and during the pandemic learned how to organize safe in-person musical events for choirs unable to meet in any other way. Inspired by the intensity of social restrictions, the opportunity arose to learn new audio/video skills and to contribute to the arts. Birthed out of all this became the "Driveway Choir" project and it became a project that was expanded by enthusiastic creative spirits who did what it took to quench their creative thirsts and encourage that same thing with others. Remarkably collaborative, this project became one of networking and collaboration with technologies being fine-tuned and an overwhelming spirit of sharing opening doors for many to create hope during a challenging time.
A micro-budgeted indie film, The Drive to Sing was recently released on Amazon Prime Video and musicians across the full spectrum of music will appreciate this good-hearted, inspiring film that celebrates the intersections of music, science, problem-solving, and human connectedness.
The film is narrated by Russ Gannon with editing by Justin LaHue, though it's real strength has to be the different choirs and musical groups that availed themselves to the Denneys to talk about their experiences. Not every film needs to have a mega-budget. Sometimes, a simple story with a good heart is all that's needed and that's precisely what's captured here. There's not a whole lot of razzle-dazzle to be found with The Drive to Sing. It's not needed and it's probably better for not having it.
The Drive to Sing screened at several fests along its festival journey prior to its streaming release including such fests as Bedford International Film Festival, Turnpike Film Festival, Lonely Seal International Film, Screenplay, and Music Festival and others. It picked up the best documentary prize at Lonely Seal and Best Inspirational Doc prize at Chautauqua International Film Festival along with three awards in the Oniros Film Awards. The film reminds me an awful lot of another indie music doc I screened within the last year, State of the Unity. Both tell beautiful stories that deserve to be told and do so simply yet poignantly.
So yeah, there's room for one more pandemic-themed film and that film is The Drive to Sing. As someone who was oblivious to the existence of parking lot choirs, The Drive to Sing informed and inspired me and made me thankful that even in one of our world's darkest times we found a way to come together and keep the music and our creative spirits alive.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic