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.

Take a look at their virtual performances – We Cannot Stop Singing  and Love is Come Again 

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

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.

Take a look at their virtual performances A Better Place and A Little Bit of Love

Brandenburg Camino

‘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 jo.porter@soundescapesuk.com for the code.

From cathedrals and abbeys, churches and stately homes, all steeped in centuries of history, some in Roman Towns others in quintessential English ‘picture postcard’ villages, every choir and musical ensemble should spend a tour exploring the United Kingdom and Ireland. Whatever part of the country you to choose to visit, by working with a knowledgeable team of people who know the regions inside out from both a tourism and musical perspective, you will be guaranteed the richest of touring experiences
Tim KnightBritish composer and Choral Director
In May 2020 we were due to tour the Stirling area in Scotland, in a series of concerts and church services organised by Sound Escapes. Due to the current coronavirus pandemic we took the difficult decision to call off the tour, and whilst all our members are extremely disappointed, we all understood that the cancellation was unavoidable in the circumstances.
However, I’d like to give our thanks and praise to Jo and her team for all the planning and preparation she had done to put the itinerary together – she was able to provide us with an excellent range of stunning concert venues, plus some great suggestions for our leisure time, and it’s such a shame that we are now unable to enjoy those experiences in 2020.
However, we hope very much that it will be possible for us and Jo to resurrect the tour and its plans, once the world returns to normal – and we look forward to working with her again soon.
Sally ColesSecretary, Cantamici
As a Chorister, and eventually Head Chorister in our local church choir for eleven years, Jo was talented, dedicated and could always be relied on to work to the utmost of her undoubted abilities. I would expect that she would apply the same attributes to her professional life
P BuckmasterChoral Director
Jo and her team came up with a fantastic itinerary for our choir and planned everything to the last detail. We always felt we were in safe hands and that they were on the end of a phone to help us with anything we needed. We couldn’t recommend them highly enough.
Rosie SayersChairperson for Sing It Loud Community Choir
Fantastic tour in Bonnie Scotland, enjoyed by all who went, singing and non-singing. Brilliant organisation from Jo who really made it all look so easy.
Kate HymansTour organiser for Masterworks Chorale