9 Sep 2020
This year must be the most disruptive “annus horribilis” in the history of the Society. It started so well with an inspirational programme for our Autumn Concert with a revised Sinfonia (better sound) and two pieces from Haydn (Little Organ Mass and Nelson Mass) followed by two from Handel (Zadok the Priest and The King Shall Rejoice).
At Christmas we had a wonderful celebration accompanied again by the BCS Brass Quintet.
Ongoing problems with the heating, (or lack of), failed to ruin our performances.
We were in full rehearsal for our March Concert when the news alerted us to a new danger, Coronavirus, or Covid-19 as we later learned to call it. The committee members were initially slightly split over how big a danger this would be to our concert, especially as we became more aware of the dangers to the over seventies and those with underlying health conditions. David was away in South America and we were waiting to consult with him (out of courtesy) when the government pulled the rug from under our feet and we found ourselves in full lockdown. All activity ceased.
We decided to pay David and Jon up to the end of the season, in recognition of their value to the society. New arrangements are now in place.
Eventually David set up a successful Zoom rehearsal on Wednesday evenings to enable some continuity. This has been used by a large section of the choir.
Normally after we’ve sung a Summer concert we break up and go on holiday but not this year. My holiday was cancelled and I’m fairly sure many of you may have had the same experience. Hopefully, by now, some have managed to get away and not had to quarantine on return!
During this time the committee have been monitoring developments, and Hugh and Val have been liaising with David about possible alternative rehearsal venues in case St. Saviours are unable to let us use the main church building to rehearse in safety, (spacing and high ceiling required).
My personal thanks to the committee for all the extra work this has entailed on the choir’s behalf. I could not have managed without all their support and prompt replies to emails etc.
But what of the future? By now you will all have received and hopefully replied to an email from David to poll whether you were willing to return in September I do hope as many as possible of you will be confident enough about the precautions taken, (details to follow), to enable us to meet and sing together in safety. Look out for a second forthcoming poll along the same lines in the near future so we can match nos. with available/chosen venue. For initially the numbers may be limited by social distancing and size of premises. However, at the time of writing it seems unlikely that we will be able to perform as normal just yet, we are waiting to see how things develop. The cavalry in the shape of a vaccine is on the horizon.
The AGM this year is being held by email. I myself, am stepping down after 6 years on the committee including three years as Chair. I welcome Claire Tomkinson as candidate for the role, (or should that now be your new Chair?) and trust, all being well, (no other candidates having been nominated so far) that she will be taking the choir forward as we carry on meeting and overcoming the challenges set by recent events. I send her a warm welcome and wish her every success. I will endeavour to make the transition as smooth as possible for Claire as she gradually picks up all the threads.
Dianne Swaffield after much agonising has stepped down from her role on the committee, she will be missed. So, we are seeking new committee members at the time of writing. (What else is new?) I would encourage new members to take on this role it is a fantastic way to get to know everyone and to shape the future of the Society.
Thanks, must go as always to David and Jon for their sterling work in bringing all of us in the choir to the peak of our abilities. Long may this relationship last. This has been a troubling and taxing time for all musicians.
Nothing is ever achieved without numerous willing volunteers. I hope the choir/volunteers will continue to support Claire and our hard-working committee through these challenging times and onward into a “new normal” future for the society. May I thank all of you for the tremendous support I have received and bid you a farewell as I catch up with my family and maybe even grab a staycation uk holiday. Like the phoenix from the ashes, we will rise again.
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