March seems such a long time ago now, when we had our last in-person rehearsal at the Boiler House before Lockdown, of course having no idea how long the situation would go on. Immediately we decided to try rehearsing by Zoom and we continued throughout the spring and into summer, stopping for an August break. Online rehearsals mean that choir members only hear themselves and me, and I couldn't hear anybody, so musically it started off being rather unsatisfactory.
However, choirs are also about community and friendship, and people were very pleased to see each other's faces during the lonely early days of lockdown. And of course we practised our parts!
After a few weeks I started recording the various choir parts myself in advance and playing these out in the rehearsals; this meant that choir members could hear themselves singing in harmony with the different parts. That improved things enormously and the rehearsals became really enjoyable and worthwhile.
So we continued to meet weekly, and one advantage of online rehearsals was that people could join in from further away — it was wonderful to see people singing from Scotland, Nottingham, Sussex, Norfolk, Worcestershire and even France. Our far-flung visitors enjoyed it so much they have asked to join us through Zoom even when us locals can meet up together again.
We continued our "Round he Piano" section at the end of each rehearsal, and were lucky enough to have Graham accompanying on the piano for that from his home in Rye.
So now it's nearing the start of a new term and we're trying to figure out whether we can rehearse in person yet or whether we will be continuing on Zoom for a bit longer. Of course despite the success of online rehearsals we are yearning to be back in a room together. Either way we will meet again on September 7th and new members are most welcome.
We aim for our next concert to be our winter one in December, as well as our usual Christmas Singalong at Dalston Curve Garden. Fingers crossed for all that, and in the meantime, Let the Music Play!