Richard Morrison wrote an excellent article in The Times on 4 June which draws attention very well to the situation facing 2 million choristers in British Choirs.
This is the first and only article I’ve come across – so far, but I know that many choirs have linked to this article on their web and facebook pages and it’s prompted a lot of positive discussion about the future for choirs.
Last week, friend and local singer Judy Mackerras, drew my attention to some work being done by Jackie Cassell (singer, epidemiologist and Deputy Director of the Brighton & Sussex Medical School) who is researching how and where choirs rehearse, with a view to aiding a recovery. As MD of 4 choirs myself, I’ve added my name to the Facebook page, filled in a questionnaire and hope to be able to add my voice to the research.
Like everyone else, I don’t really have much idea of what the future holds medium term. I’m anticipating that the Lewes Singers trip to Ripon Cathedral at the end of August will be cancelled. I have no news for the East Sussex Community Choir – a choir of 100 singers who rehearse in a room just about big enough for 100 people – so no social distancing there but I remain optimistic about us meeting in September. The Lewes Chamber Choir and the Brighton Singers are much smaller groups who might feel able to reconvene in September but we’ve not even begun discussing things let alone reaching conclusions. And the New Sussex Opera have pushed their production of Handel: Acis and Galatea that I was due to conduct, to next year.
Then there’s ZOOM! I know that some choirs are meeting using Zoom – an online conference facility. Some have been part of the Self-Isolation Choir rehearsals and performance of Messiah. I know that a few members of my choirs really enjoyed this experience of rehearsing Messiah. Zoom is limited, however, and it’s impossible to achieve ‘live ensemble’, so I think I’ll leave that to the technical experts.
We have had several family quizzes on Zoom. In fact the Houghton Family Quiz (instigated by myself) brought together two couples in Germany, and five in England. Next time I’m hoping, if we do it in the daytime, we might get my daughter Rowena involved – she lives in Broome, Western Australia.
Now here’s a photo from our garden. This Lampranthus Spectabilis lives up to its name – just one of the lovely things we have to enjoy.
Musically, I’ve been playing more of ‘the 48 Preludes and Fugues’ by J.S.Bach than my neighbours would probably like. So yesterday I pulled down some Chopin Nocturnes from my shelf and started one of them. I think it’s fair to describe me as ‘a Chopin virgin’. Not for much longer.
And last week I listened to the opera ‘The Rake’s Progress’ by Igor Stravinsky. I had a ticket to see the Glyndebourne production later in July, but sadly that is no more. So if you have over 2 hours to spare – have a listen (and watch).
I hope you have a nice week. And let’s hope we can all start singing together again quite soon.