At the World Choir Games in 2008, South Africa’s Kearsney College Choir of school boys, aged 13 -18, performed their simulation of a thunderstorm before a pop choral performance of Toto’s Africa. The storm sound effects are created with their snapping fingers, clapping their hands on their legs, and the coordinated stomps of their feet. Bird and other animal sounds are whistled and vocalized.
In March 2009 at Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, composer Eric Whitacre conducted the VocalEssence Chorus and Ensemble Singers, The St. Olaf Choir, and the Minnesota High School Honors Choir in a performance of Cloudburst. The storm starts just after 5m30s:
Inspired by the two above, there have been many other percussive thunderstorm performances that have since gone viral, including this one by Slovenia’s Perpetuum Jazzile in 2008:
And this one by Los Angeles’ Angel City Chorale in 2013:
This seems like a fun activity for any choir or class to try out, though we’re guessing the effect doesn’t always have to be paired with Toto. Might we suggest Singin’ in the Rain? And for more inspiration, check out The Secret World of Foley, Hummingbird: Diego Stocco, Sound Magician, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy (a sort of flashmob), and Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s Didn’t It Rain.