It was great to see so many of you on Wednesday, thank you for coming and congratulations on a super rehearsal. It went extremely well, everyone coped with the challenges of distance and masks and we made good progress resurrecting parts of the Mass. I also enjoyed some down time in The Chequers with a few of you, such an important part of belonging to a choir.
I was pleasantly surprised by the rapid improvement in the strength and quality of your vocal tone as the evening wore on; we were all discovering our limits and just how isolating it feels standing alone and singing into a mask. Well done to you all, it was wonderful to be back together again.
I will be giving thought to the set up in the church. Moving the sopranos to the front made a big difference and I will consider what else we can do to make everyone feel part of the action – sorry altos! At the very least we can rotate the sections around so nobody feels permanently marginalised.
I read out good news from The Association of British Choral Directors, received at 16.00 yesterday and we are hopeful that at least we will have more flexibility in how we operate, mitigating risk in a way which feels sensible and acceptable to us. Losing masks will be a huge benefit if we decide to do that. The committee will confirm any changes in due course.
Restrictions on choirs in England to be removed at Step 4
The Government has announced its intention to end all Covid-19 restrictions in England on 19 July, though this date will not be confirmed until 12 July.
In addition to the announcement by the Health Secretary in the House of Commons on Monday that there would no longer be any restrictions on ‘communal worship or singing’ from Step 4, we’re delighted that yesterday the Secretary of State announced on social media that all restrictions on choirs will be removed. No further details have been announced and we’ll be keeping a close eye on what the small print might be, but we hope this is a big step forward.
More generally, live music restrictions will be eased and there will no longer be legal limits on audience numbers indoors or outdoors.
This is all good news for the music industry, and for choral music in particular. However, Performing Arts Guidance has yet to be published and we will be looking closely at the content of that. We know that whilst some will be ready to return as soon as possible, many choirs will want to plan a gradual return to their usual programmes. We will continue to support, advise & encourage choirs & their leaders as they make their plans and to keep you all informed with any further news. ABCD 07.07.21
What we will do on 14.07.21
REMEMBER: Inalare la voce!
Et vitam (p150) A reminder: We broke this movement down by identifying the musical themes or motifs which make it up, each with a distinctive feature. It starts (fig 42) with the arpeggio tune up to ‘Amen’. This is supported by the scale pattern (‘Amen’ in the tenors). The rhythmic motif – ‘Amen’ in the S & T at the top of page 151 – becomes significant, appears quite frequently and is kind of developed in longer phrases later. The final building block is the stepwise theme which first appears at the top of page 153 (again in S & T). Recognising these and where they appear minimises the time required to learn the music and gives you confidence as you know more than you think!
Agnus dei (you start on p196)
On 21.07.21 we will look at the Gloria and the cum sancto (p75) which we sang so brilliantly at the music festival, plus other sections tbc.
On 28.07.21 we will rehearse the Sanctus (p180) plus other sections tbc.
Very many thanks – forward together! TM@tF