Ever since we had to - ever so reluctantly - cancel our Singing for Pleasure meetings for the foreseeable future we have been keeping in touch every week by singing a chosen song from our extensive repertoire in our own
homes every Friday morning at 10 a.m.
Every week I send out an email giving the Weekly Song Choice together with any important information about members’
birthdays so that we can serenade them with the appropriate musical greeting. The general feedback seems to be that the majority feel this small act of unity helps to keep us together as a choir, even when we are far apart. Our lovely pianist tells me that
my weekly invitation motivates her to sit down at her piano every Friday morning - and that, once she has started playing, she finds she carries on tinkling the ivories and enjoying a whole musical morning. That made me very happy and motivated
me, in turn, to keep sending out the weekly emails.
There is no checking up on who’s actually singing, of course. There is not, nor ever will be, any kind
of Test, Track and Trace to identify those who are trilling merrily or those who are still hiding under the duvet at 10 a.m. It’s enough to know that our intentions are good.
Then this week Jenny, one of our bouncier members, asked if we could join together to sing via Zoom. Wouldn’t it be good, she suggested, if we could see each other as we sang? Now I am fairly conversant with the advantages of
zooming. I have participated in all sorts of virtual gatherings, from relatively formal meetings where we all have to raise a hand to indicate that we want to speak, to the regular Family Zoom where everyone tries to speak at once while the Twins entertain
themselves and the rest of us by pulling faces and displaying their teddy bears. What I couldn’t be so sure of was how many choir members were avid Zoomers and how many thought of Zoom as being those rocket-shaped raspberry, strawberry and banana flavoured
lollies much beloved of small fry twenty years ago.
You know me - I am always up for an experiment. Provided it doesn’t involve anything dangerous, like
abseiling or bungee jumping. Or, for that matter, anything that resembles a rollercoaster ride. I do also try to involve great heights, especially those reached via spiral staircases, and practically anything that that swoops up and down in an alarming fashion.
A choir session via Zoom would surely be a fairly safe experience. I mean, what was the worst that could happen?
I happened to see on the TV a piece about a fella
who decided to establish a Lockdown Choir to perform Handel’s Messiah. Our aim was rather more modest - we planned to sing that old folk song popular from our childhood “Come to the Fair.” You may know the one I mean - it includes lots of
“heigh-ho’s” as opposed to Hallelujahs and is possibly a little less vocally challenging as a result. The founder of the Lockdown Choir was amazed when he was joined by no fewer than 3000 songbirds. We managed 12 - or 13 if you counted
one of our Merry Band as two, bearing in mind that, despairing of ever making a connection, she joined us on both her phone and her IPad at the same time. There was a bit of discussion about whether it makes for a better picture if you adjust your position
so that you are facing a window, rather than sitting with the window behind you. I tried both ways but it didn’t seem to make much difference. Maybe it’s just my face that needs adjusting....
Soon enough it was 10 o’clock and we needed to start on time so that we were in tune with the remainder of the choir who, while not zooming along with us, would still be singing along in their living rooms. Our conductor,
Lorna, suggested that, from her experience with another choir, it would be best if we all muted ourselves so that we could only hear ourselves singing but it was a bit too late for that - we’d already started so, as someone once said, we would finish.
Most of us did reach the final “Heigh-ho, come to the fair!” at about the same time and some of us even finished on the right note. It was a Complete Choral Cacophony
- but somehow all the more joyous for that.
Everyone wants to do it again next Friday. Maybe more people will join us? My task now is to select which song we should
sing in Not So Perfect Harmony.
No, it won’t be the Hallelujah Chorus....