Can anything good come out of the lockdown, especially as it affects live musical performance? Perhaps it can! Rosemary is a member of St. George’s Singers, a highly successful choir based in South Manchester. http://www.st-georges-singers.org.uk/ Their performing schedule has been washed out by the pandemic, eliminating or postponing two tours, and concerts at the RNCM, Huddersfield Town Hall and a number of local churches.
Although online rehearsals are still continuing, Rosemary suggested in addition the formation of a Listening Club, which would agree on a musical work to investigate and meet online once a month to discuss it. Rosemary provides the historical background and musical analysis, and the choir members contribute their experiences of listening to and performing the music. So far, the group has considered works by Vaughan Williams, Bach, Britten and Walton – the last to prepare for a revival of two performances of Belshazzar’s Feast which have been lost in the pandemic.
The choir members have added valuable memories – of singing to Vaughan Williams; hearing a recital by Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears; of performances and recordings with distinguished conductors, and workshops and conversations with James MacMillan.
Enjoyment of the music has been deepened, and choir members are getting to know each other better, with over twenty members meeting via Zoom each month.