‘enabling choir rehearsal from home’

In the absence of regular choir rehearsals during lockdown, many choirs have experimented with remote or ‘virtual’ rehearsals using Zoom or other IT conference facilities. The general experience of most is that while beneficial for keeping in touch with your choral cohort, the singing experience is less satisfying. With that learning in mind, BDCS launches today its ‘distance learning’ initiative, a half-way house between physical and virtual rehearsals, supported by rehearsal materials which means that you can rehearse forthcoming choral works at home, at your pace, and in a way that suits you, but knowing that your choir colleagues are doing something similar, ultimately working towards joint rehearsals and a performance.

With our 49th year as a choir approaching, we know that it is likely to be a disrupted year and it will be hard to make definite plans based on what we will be performing. So, with that in mind, our thoughts go towards our Jubilee year (2021-2022) which we hope will be more predictable and see choirs once again being able to rehearse and perform together. This initiative is primarily about keeping us together as a unit, as much as it is about making quality music in restrictive circumstances, so that when we are once again able we will still have a choir that can get together to rehearse and perform. So, this is aimed at ALL current BDCS members (i.e. those that were enrolled with us for the 2019-2020 season just finished). There is no cost to members who wish to take part.

How it will work

All members (except those that have expressed a preference not to take part) should have received a complimentary copy of the Folk Song Sequence Score that Guy Turner has arranged for our Jubilee Prom Concert in 2021/2. This is your personal copy to keep as a souvenir of our forthcoming Jubilee year but will also be the score you use for the Prom Concert. Please take care of it, you can mark-up your copy with notes, but there are no spares! A second book of music of the other Prom pieces (where copyright allows),  has also been produced so that we can extend our distance learning initiative for the Prom concert as required. Clearly if we are able to meet for a workshop later in the year then these works would form the basis of that workshop.

There is a new ‘Distance Learning’ page on the BDCS website http://www.binghamchoral.org.uk/distancelearning/ This will contain the individual rehearsal sessions for each piece we are learning. Each ‘lesson’ will comprise:

  • A piano accompaniment – Michael Overbury has recorded the piano accompaniment for all four folk song pieces,
  • Guy conducting,
  • Four professional singers have been recruited to record the Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Base parts,
  • Warm-up routines,
  • Guy will also add appropriate introductions to each piece, commentary on difficult corners, or ‘born to be flat’ moments, advice about singing difficult sections, pronunciation etc.,

You will be able to hear all four parts singing in unison and sing along with that, or select your own voice part (along with piano accompaniment and Guy conducting) for individual pracice, or when you are feeling more confident can sing along just with the piano.

To te left is a screen shot from the group performance where top left Guy is conducting, bottom left Michael is playing, and the four soloists (Ellie Martin – Soprano, Ruth Massey -Alto, Tristan Moore -Tenor, and Guy Turner – Base) are singing their individual parts but skilfully edited together by Jeff Sutton. Madeleine Parkyn created the new web pages to accommodate the distance learning material.

Thanks also to Janet Chapman, Tina Warrington, Margot Anderson and volunters who distributed the music.

We hope you will enjoy learning and singing these new pieces, and although its no real substitute for meeting and singing together, we hope it will be an enjoyable experience and maintain your interest in choral singing. We welcome any feedback you might have.

Brad Poulson