Kilndown Choir AGM, 2nd November 2020 (via Zoom)
Musical Director’s Report
It’s hard to believe that my usual report at our annual AGM is all about celebrating our amazing musical achievements throughout the year. Yet here we are in the midst of a global pandemic which has stopped us meeting for almost 9 months now and about to enter a further period of lockdown. It has been extremely tough for everyone but above all I hope that you, your families and friends are all fit, well and safe.
Personally, I have really missed everything that choir means – making music with such a wonderful group of people, the challenges of learning new and interesting music, the support network and social interactions which the choir share and, of course, the buzz we get from entertaining our friends and neighbours. I’m sure we have all missed those things as well as the physical and mental health benefits that singing brings. I hope you have managed to find some way of filling those gaps but suspect that music has taken a back seat for many of us.
It’s such a shame that having finally worked through the complexities of how we might be able to meet in a covid-secure way, we have been thwarted by the new lockdown. However we very much hope that we will be allowed to re-start in December for those who are ready to meet in person. I’m very much aware and sorry that many of you won’t be in a position to return to rehearsals yet but promise to keep you in the loop as to how it is going and what we are singing. Hopefully as time moves on, more and more of you will be able to come back.
I hope you enjoyed the online exercises which Sarah and I set after lockdown last term and found them useful. I know some of you were hoping we would be able to continue to run choir virtually via Zoom but whilst some choirs have managed this successfully, it is technologically challenging and very time consuming.
Unfortunately, Sarah and I felt we just couldn’t juggle that along with our own work and family commitments. I am, however, hoping that we may manage one or two “virtual” carol singing sessions before Christmas. There are also still plenty of online resources available by other choirs so do please dip into those and share what you find.
Looking back to what we did manage to achieve between the last AGM and lockdown in March, we had a lovely autumn term learning some new and challenging Christmas music for our wonderful Brass and Voices concert last December. Particular highlights for me were the Ola Gjeilo “Spotless Rose” and Berlioz “The Shepherds’ Farewell”. I remember vividly that first rehearsal when we thought it was all too challenging, but we got to grips with it and it was one of the most moving things at the concert.
Of course, Christmas was tinged with sadness at the sudden loss of Maureen Weston (Mo). She was a wonderful lady and a highly valued member of the choir and the committee. We miss her greatly. It was privilege for the choir to sing at her funeral and the Ave Verum was a moving and fitting tribute.
Looking back to early this year, before lockdown, we started on some wonderful music for our spring concert before we had to abandon rehearsals. The time themed programme was such a good one that Sarah and I are very much planning to run it when we can eventually perform to an audience again! Hopefully we will be able to raise some much needed funds for the church at that stage.
As you will recall, we normally make a number of charitable donations throughout the year. I’m pleased to say that our Christmas concert raised £250 each for the CAB and The Quarry Centre. Unfortunately, we haven’t made any other donations this year (including our usual donation to LAM) as our income has been very limited, but hopefully we will be in a position to raise funds for charity again soon.
Finally, as always can I say a huge thank you to Sarah for all of her support, ideas and enthusiasm throughout the year (even during lockdown!), and of course to the whole committee – Tina, Rosemary, Hilary, Roger and Richard for the invaluable roles they play in running the choir.
So, in summary, it has been the strangest possible year for us all. But hang on in there - Sarah and I know how much the choir means to everyone and we have complete confidence that we will all get together again at some stage soon and raise the roof of the church with wonderful singing. In the meantime keep fit and well, keep singing, and keep in touch!
Julian Wells 1/11/20