Just as we were about to start our new term, the country went into lockdown. However, the majority of choir members wanted to continue meeting on a Thursday evening (virtually of course) in order to maintain a sense of normality and also for the continuity of our choir – and so we became a ‘choir in lockdown’.
At the end of one of our early Zoom rehearsals, Catherine Field-Leather, our Musical Director, said that she wanted us to put on our headphones at home and record our individual voices to the backing track that she would send us. The plan was that she would mix our voices together and HTC would be performing once more!
Most of us thought, “Oh my goodness, can we do this?!” But we were determined to keep our choir together and, suddenly, this was the challenge that we all needed! We’ve been able to perform ABBA’s ‘Super Trouper’ and ‘Here Comes The Sun’ by The Beatles – all from our own individual homes.
There have indeed been challenges at every level, from installing Zoom, coping with dodgy Wi-Fi, finding a quiet space at home, to getting used to hearing our own voices like we’ve never heard them before.
To give you a flavour of our experience, a few of our members have been kind enough to share their thoughts and feelings about being part of HTC during these last 13 weeks.
“Although I have missed the camaraderie of singing together and the magical feeling of performing, I have learnt more about my voice in Lockdown than I ever would have done otherwise.” – Andy G
“Choir during lockdown has been challenging, both with vocals and technical know-how. It has been a steep learning curve, and I don’t think that I will ever grow happy with listening to my voice recordings! However, I have tried hard to fully participate, recorded everything that was asked for, and have grown more confident. It is nice to see members’ faces every week, but I am really looking forward to seeing everyone in person at a normal rehearsal at the Wesley Centre.” – Pat G
“I do my recording standing looking out into the garden. This gives me inspiration and a sense of performance. It has been lovely to see and share experiences with my HTC friends during lockdown. I’ve had lots of fun making, watching and sharing the music videos, and got a great sense of community when we all sang along with Vera Lynn.” – Val G
“I’ve really enjoyed the choir during lockdown – a breath of fresh air at the Zoom meetings on Thursday evenings during weeks when there was very little else to look forward to! Not all easy going by any means – Catherine really worked us – but well worth it for the amazing recordings and group videos we managed to produce!” – Mike D
“Choir by Zoom, at first very unsettling, missing the presence of my fellow choir members, not seeing the smiles when we had got it right, but over the weeks it has developed into something special, still hard work, but confidence has grown.” – Allison R
“It’s nice to be in small groups some of the time, I think it has made me be brave and sing in front of other people on my own, which I would never have done at choir.” – Linda P
There’s no doubt that we’ve all grown through the experience. We’ve also had such a lot of fun on the way, especially recording the video clips to accompany our recordings. It’s a term that we’ll never forget but, when we can eventually sing together once again, we’ll be the stronger for it.
If you’ve somehow missed them, you can see some of our self-isolated performances here…
Watch Self-Isolated ‘Super Trouper’ by Harrogate Theatre Choir
Watch Self-Isolated ‘Here Comes The Sun’ by Harrogate Theatre Choir
Thanks must go to Catherine, our Musical Director, who has made all this possible; to Emma, our clever video editor, and to the Zoom technical team who have got us all connected.