It FINALLY happened! After 15 months of Zooming, Harrogate Theatre Choir members were once again reunited in person… And it was such a wonderful experience.

Adhering to government guidelines, we had our first in-person meet since recording our album ‘BINGE’ all the way back in March 2020 in the grounds of St. Wilfrid’s Church on Thursday 10th June, with 29 members of the choir plus our MD, Catherine Field-Leather, to reach the maximum of 30 people.

Seeing everyone in person instead of in tiny square boxes on a screen was such a joyous moment – especially for the new members who joined us during lockdown and have never met other members of the choir in person!

HTC’s warm-up at St. Wilfrid’s Church © Fiona Dowson

We started off with a warm-up – of course! – before singing through some of our favourites. ABBA’s ‘Super Trouper’ is very much a Marmite song for HTC; many of us love it, but many aren’t the biggest fans of the song… However, after the success of our lockdown home video for the song – which also appears on ‘BINGE’ – we just had to give it a go. It paid off – what a sound!

ABBA was followed by a run-through of ‘Moon River’, which was so gorgeous we just had to film it – you can watch it below. We also sang ‘Lullaby of Birdland’, ‘Do You Hear The People Sing’ from Les Mis and ‘A Million Dreams’ from The Greatest Showman, before rounding the evening off with ‘Bethlehem’, which is a favourite of ours.

MD Catherine said: “After 15 months on Zoom it really was wonderful to see and hear HTC live again. With the aim of simply re-establishing a live gathering, the outcome of the first trial was so much more. From the opening of Super Trouper it was clear that singers were by no means rusty, and bursting to sing live.

“For me, the excitement, happiness and sheer joy on singers’ faces last night is something I will not forget. To boot, a rainbow and a blackbird accompaniment provided good omens!”

HTC Chair Chris said: “Singing must be like riding a bike! They say that you never forget how to ride a bike – well singing together is remarkably similar. Last night, Thursday 10th June, found Harrogate Theatre Choir singing as a choral group for the first time in 15 months and we were amazing. No bum notes (ok maybe a few), perfect harmony and an incredibly happy group of people! It is great to be back on the bike!!!!”

Christine, a new member who joined us through Zoom in lockdown, added: “This was my first live rehearsal with HTC as I only joined in January. Oh, the joy of singing live and with a very friendly and welcoming group of singers. I look forward to full indoor rehearsals and concerts!”

Andrew, who took time away from the choir during lockdown, commented: “What a great evening that was! Great to see everybody and amazed by how good we sounded, despite the restrictions we were under! Just goes to show that the spirit of HTC is unquenchable, whatever is thrown at us!”

It has taken a lot of commitment and perseverance from our members – many of whom have had to learn how to use new technology; from Catherine – who has put in countless hours working to ensure HTC could be kept going in a fashion; and from the HTC committee – who have worked behind the scenes to ensure we can meet safely and in accordance with government guidelines.

We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has stuck with us, and we keep our fingers crossed that this is the start of our way back to normality.