Sun, 18 Oct 2020
LIKE so many groups brought together by their love of music and frustrated at not being allowed to sing or play, Newbury Choral Society have been working hard during lockdown to keep in touch with choir members and provide some activities to replace their weekly sing.
Quiz nights and talks by conductor Cathal Garvey attempted to maintain some of the social aspects of choir membership throughout the early months of isolation before what would in any case have been the summer break.
December’s production of Handel’s Messiah has now been cancelled because of restrictions on rehearsal numbers and the unavailability of venues both for rehearsal and performance. Instead a growing number of choir members have been taking part in weekly Zoom ‘rehearsals’ led by conductor Cathal Garvey. These have served a two-fold purpose in providing (albeit limited) social contact and interaction, as well as enabling the singers to experience surprisingly different interpretations of the
choruses they sing along to.
A common theme at the end of these Zoom meetings has been the delight of members at connecting with, and even just seeing, friends.
A virtual performance of some of the Messiah choruses is in the pipeline for production in December, and they hope to be back ‘live’ with the full oratorio as soon as circumstances permit.
A concern for the choir, as it is for so many institutions and organisations at the moment, is funding. There are financial implications to retaining the conductor’s post throughout, while also losing income from cancelled concerts. Friends of Newbury Choral Society may be interested to know that the choir have been promised match funding by Greenham Trust, so that any donations made through thegoodexchange.com will effectively be doubled by their generous contribution.
Further information can be found on their recently-refurbished website at www.newburychoral.org.uk which takes an up-to-date look at choir activities and past performances and also contains information on how to join.
The choir committee has been looking at ways to engage the community, attract new members and make an impact musically once the pandemic allows some return to normality. Sadly, it seems that venues for any kind of singing in large groups are limited and they would be delighted to hear from anyone who might be able to help find a suitable space to rehearse. Just contact the secretary via their website.