A Lyrical Lockdown

by Alexandra Brooke

In March 2020, while we were looking forward to our forthcoming St John Passion concert, Covid-19 raised its ugly head and the landscape of live music underwent a major change. Tutti suddenly became solo and singing in the shower seemed to be the only option for our vocal output.

Not to be outdone, however, nor condemned to months of silence, our members got busy with the many and varied options which sprung up in the shadow of Lockdown.

Gareth Malone was very quick off the mark, bringing his fun, approachable Great British Home Chorus into our homes each evening. Several CCS members have ‘chatted’ to each other via his live YouTube broadcast and we have sung pieces ranging from Duran Duran to Vivaldi – some brave souls have even dared to record their voices in shiny new GBHC t-shirts!

Others have enjoyed taking part in the huge Messiah project with the Self-Isolation Choir, as featured on the BBC and International News. A wonderfully uplifting concert at the end of May was a great success. For those of us yearning for a second Hallelujah, Radio 4’s Concert for Ascension Day provided that very opportunity – and another chance to record ourselves, oh joy!

Some of us seeking more contemporary offerings have been attending large Zoom rehearsals with Sir Karl Jenkins and Sir James Macmillan – a further musical adventure courtesy of the Stay at Home Choir.

Away from the score, members have been sharing their melodious memories with each other via our summer ‘Comparing Notes’ project in which we completed questionaires about our personal experiences / tastes and then read each other’s answers. It seems that our favourite George may actually be Harrison rather than Gershwin or Handel – best not tell the MD! Also, musical memoirs are being written and maybe a Corona Chorus has secretly been composed….

Now we are all experts in Zoom, we are delighted that rehearsals have moved online with great attendance and enthusiasm. It’s a wonderful opportunity to try out a different part and admire your fellow choristers’ home interiors….

The county may have been in Lockdown, but, as you can see, our passion for singing certainly has not. We don’t know when we’ll meet again in person (cue the late Dame Vera…) but until then we’re keeping busy!

“… How great and how wonderful the joys of meeting will be..”

Translation from Quanta Qualia Patrick / Andrew Hawes

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