We are still going strong!

The first of September 2020 is the start of our new Choir Year.  We have been surviving the pandemic through weekly Zoom rehearsals and new online resources, plus daily WhatsApp, a Zoom chat & sing-song on Fridays and group emails. Unfortunately, a small number of Choir members are not virtually connected and they cannot join Zoom meetings yet- emails and telephone calls have been keeping them in the loop and we really hope we find a way to increase their engagement as lockdown measures are eased. But the vast majority of us have been enjoying virtual rehearsals every week. Our continued subscriptions are fantastic value for money, as Angela and John have been working incredibly hard to provide everything we need to sustain the Choir and keep us connected– we have even learnt 4 new pieces!  

Busy preparations are underway so that we can be ready at the earliest possible opportunity to physically meet again.  The first major step we are anticipating in the establishment of our ‘new normal’ will be ‘real’ Choir practice with Covid-19 measures in place for those who feel able to attend, linked by Zoom to those joining the rehearsals from home. Therefore we are getting everything in place to enable this to happen as soon as local regulations permit us to do so.

Realistically, it’s going to be a while before we can provide a public concert again. The Choir needs to see an ‘end-product’ for all our musical efforts, so the main objective this term is to produce a compilation video performance. This will be quite an undertaking, but we are lucky to have John with all the technological know-how and we will help each other to make the individual recordings.

Overall, we have done very well to keep going and to overcome so very many obstacles – thanks to massive efforts from Angela and John and to the strong friendship within the Choir.  The latest research findings about the Covid-19 safety of singing are extremely encouraging; it shows that that singing does not produce very substantially more respiratory particles than when speaking at a similar volume (https://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2020/august/perfomsing-study.html) , so we are optimistic that ‘real’ rehearsals will be possible very soon.

At the start of every term, we invite new members to join us. Although everything is being done differently, we are still able to sing together for pleasure and friendship and you are welcome to join us. Why not try a Zoom rehearsal and see what you think?   If you decide to join us, subscriptions are paid by online bank transfer (£35 per term, three terms per year, or £105 for the year) and you will find this excellent value for money.  Just email our Musical Director, Angela if you would like to be invited to join a Zoom rehearsal: angelarowley@ntlworld.com . We look forward to meeting you!

Maintaining Harmony

Before the coronavirus pandemic, we met every Tuesday evening for Choir practice; sopranos, altos and men closely side by side in rows, with Angela and John at the front leading us through two hours of wonderful songs. We now realise, more than ever, how marvellous it was to be able to gather together on Tuesday nights to sing; how beneficial such close human contact in this context can be. We miss each other and can’t wait until we can have normal Choir practice again.

When you are that close together in an indoor space, you can feel the harmonies resonate through you as you sing. You should be listening to everyone else as you sing to try to ensure your voices blend and produce a congruent, coherent and synchronized sound(with clear consonants! ). So many different voices, different tonal qualities and timbres are combined to produce a unique musical ‘voice’; the voice of a Choir. In other words, harmony.

Harmony connects us and creates bonds which remain even when we are not singing together. During Lockdown, Angela has been a driving force in helping us to maintain our harmonious bond. In addition to emails and telephone calls, we have been having two–hour Zoom rehearsals on Tuesday evenings and a Zoom sing-along song on Friday evenings. John has also been working incredibly hard with arrangements, recorded accompaniments and YouTube music practice parts for each section of the Choir. This keeps us busy between sessions. John plays for us on the Zoom sessions too.

We can’t actually hear each other sing – because of signal delays from each participant, the output cannot be synchronised. So we each sing along whilst muted on Zoom, with only the accompaniment and Angela to guide us. It can be quite chaotic, but it’s really good fun and we have made progress, learning some new pieces. It’s still a very precious time together. None of us can hear the Choir’s voice, we miss it and each other so much. But… we can still feel the harmony!

Spring Concert Cancelled under Covid-19 measures

Unfortunately, we have had no choice  but to suspend Choir activities for the foreseeable.  This means that until further notice, we will not be meeting for rehearsals and we have cancelled the Spring concert on 27th March 2020.  We will  let you know when we are back in action- please watch this space!

Stay safe everyone, all the best from everyone in Eccles Community Choir.