Vaughan Williams Singers
Vaughan Williams Singers (VWS) is an auditioned chamber choir based in Dorking in the Surrey Hills. Like many choirs, VWS has not met face-to-face for over a year, and all the concerts and tours that had been planned were cancelled, but there was a strong determination to keep the group together and emerge from lockdown unscathed. As a result of the dedication of the choir’s committee and singers, its community spirit has remained strong throughout the pandemic.
In common with many groups, VWS experimented with virtual choir videos early on in the lockdown, and with Zoom quizzes and socials. Their first virtual choir videos were recordings of respectively, a lockdown song, We Cannot Stop Singing, and an Easter hymn Love is Come Again, both composed by Musical Director, Ian Assersohn. A WhatsApp group was quickly established to help maintain a sense of community; where jokes were told, stories shared and, mostly, the choir dreamed about getting together again.
Early in 2021 VWS started experimenting with a new web-based tool called Rehearsal Room, developed by a local software engineer, Berl Steiner. Using this amazing software the choir is able to rehearse old and new works together, and, crucially, to hear the results as an entire choir performance, with all the usual time delays and balance problems sorted out. Rehearsal Room has made the return to a regular weekly rehearsal a reality, albeit a virtual one, and they hope will mean that when restrictions are lifted the choir will be able to hit the ground running.
Sing It Loud Choir
We are big fans of the Sing It Loud Choir from Leamington Spa having been on tour with them in February 2020! Led by the very talented and charismatic Seb Farrall, the choir sing a range of repertoire and certainly know how to put on a brilliant performance.
When the lockdown first began the choir banded together to record one of the songs in their repertoire ‘Something Inside so Strong‘ and have since gone on to create an entire virtual concert available on YouTube. And lucky for us the second virtual concert is coming on April 24th at 7pm.
The Sing it Loud members have been working extremely hard (again) learning and recording 3 new songs, fabulously arranged by their pianist Erica Avery, in their own homes. Virtual Concert 2.0 will bring these new songs, combined with some of their favourite ‘in-person’ performances from the past. This one is not to be missed! All further details are on their website: www.singitloud.co.uk/virtual
Soundbytes Choir from Surrey have continued throughout the pandemic thanks to MD Hazel Hannam who has enabled the choir to carry on singing virtually together on Zoom and they’ve adapted well to all the technology. It’s been a very enjoyable and vital part of their weeks! Hazel has encouraged the choir to record themselves individually at home on three of their new songs at the end of each term and blended the videos with some visuals to make some lovely pieces on YouTube as a replacement for their end of term concerts.
‘Join us for a musical pilgrimage that will lead everyone out of the Covid darkness.’
Modelled on El Camino, Brandenburg have successfully created a series of musical ‘Steps’ or projects – each based on a gem of the choral repertoire. Born out of lockdown from their London base, this virtual choir welcomes singers from all over the UK and more recently Germany, France, Italy and Austria and social activities include conductor interviews, virtual wine bars, bake-along sessions and there’s even a social knitting group. Everyone is welcome and there are still several steps in the pipeline. You can view recordings of all the steps on their Youtube channel and here is The Camino Step7: Albinoni, Adagio (arr Bob.Porter) for your enjoyment!
The live virtual Spring Concert is taking place on Thursday 8th April at 2pm and 5pm on Zoom with beautiful choral music performed by Brandenburg Camino Choir, the Choir of St Bartholomew the Great (with Rupert Gough) and Echo (with Sarah Latto). Tickets are £10 https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/brandenburg and 50% discount available for Sound Escapes clients so please e-mail Jo at firstname.lastname@example.org for the code.