Updated 18 June 2021
18 June : We had an almost full (29 singers plus
myself) singing session on the Methodist Church lawn yesterday,
which I hope everyone enjoyed. Numbers are creeping
up for the remaining sessions each Thursday up to 22nd July, so
if you haven't given me your dates, please email me as soon
as possible if you wish to attend. I will post a
decision here depending on the weather, each Thursday around
6pm. Remember to bring your own chairs. A few of
those there yesterday attracted some of the local midge
population, so if you are easily bitten, you might like to bring
appropriate insect repellant. If you were there yesterday,
please bring the music you were given; there will be spare
copies for those coming for the first time, and there will be
more to give out for everyone too. Remember too that
although we are outside and most of us are vaccinated, we need
to be vigilant in preventing any further spread of the virus.
11 June : IT'S LIKELY THAT WE CAN MEET ON 17TH JUNE TO
SING LIVE AGAIN - BUT OUTDOORS ON THE
METHODIST CHURCH LAWN, AND RESTRICTED TO 30 SINGERS. PLEASE
EMAIL ME IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE ONE OF THE 30. I
need to check a few details on Monday morning, and I'll send
out a confirmatory email with further details, but it would be
helpful to have early responses from those hoping to
attend. 7.30 until 8.30; the forecast is good at
the moment; bring your own chairs please.
1 June : I've had an email from ChoraLine
advertising an online rehearsal and performance opportunity for
the Brahms Requiem (sung in English) starting shortly.
It's being run by the RunBySingers - watch an introduction to
what they do here
, We also had a direct
email from them, which said:
Runbysingers is offering singers a rare opportunity
to rehearse,sing, and record Brahms Requiem -
in English – online. Music is provided and all
sections are rehearsed separately. The final concert
will, be signed in BSL.
It's not the same as singing face to face but it's
a great way to learn a new piece of music as all
rehearsals are on You Tube so they can be paused, rewound,
and watched again. Here is a link to a 2
minute video showing what we do.
With a professional backing choir to accompany our
rehearsals, top soloists Ashley Riches and Charlotte
Bowden and award-winning conductor Matt Finch, this event
promises to be very special.
Try before you buy
If you think any of your members might be interested, just
ask them to email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will
send them a free link to the first rehearsal
on 8 June and a full PDF score. The full package of
Full details can be found
Nick Couchman, Runbysingers
I'll be soon putting out some details about starting our
singing together again - keep checking this page!
22 May : The new advice from the
government is to restrict amateur rehearsals to 6
choristers. Yet professional rehearsals can be up to any
number, subject to social distancing and other covid safety
precautions. This seems to be anomalous - do amateur
singers generate more aerosol than professional singers?
Possibly the (on average) better breath control that the
(average) professional singer might have might support this, but
I suspect that the reason is economic. Any activity
generating aerosol has an associated risk, but if it's likely to
cost the cash-strapped government, then forget the risk - after
all, it's only small!
My own view is that if the situation has improved to the point
where people can gather indoors for social activity, socially
distanced, then the risk is probably low enough to include
singing, provided that steps are taken to reduce the risk.
The main one to my mind is ventilation. If you as a singer
are generating aerosol which just might be infectious, then the
ventilation needs to be good enough to get rid of the aerosol
before it reaches anyone else in the room. This is not
easy to ensure indoors. Of course, vaccination and
testing will reduce the risk of generating infectious
aerosol. And note that since 17th May
when the latest changes took place, infections are on the rise
again, especially the Indian variant, and I'm told that the
r-number has increased again to above 1. Another wave
I have been sent the details of a petition to the government to
lift the 6 singers restriction. If you think that it is
appropriate to do this, you can sign the petition at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/586559
I would be interested to know your views (some have already
emailed me - thanks for that).
13 May : The signs are that we are at last
successfully emerging from the Covid epidemic in this country,
and I'm hopeful that we will be able to resume normal-ish
rehearsals in September. Before then, I'm planning to have
a few informal Thursday evening sings outdoors, and I'll publish
details of these as soon as I can confirm them - probably just a
few days' notice since it will be weather-dependent.
Meanwhile, you may like to join Ben Ellin (conductor of
Slaithwaite Phil.) for a Come & Sing (including parts of
, Mozart Requiem
, Vaughan Williams
Dona nobis pacem
4 February : We are still required to "stay at
home" so no singing together yet, I'm afraid. I
passed 70 some months ago, but have not yet been called for
vaccination; I think that we ought not to meet fully until most
of us have been vaccinated, but I will arrange a sing-song for
those keen to re-start as soon as it becomes practicable.
Meanwhile, stay safe, and keep your voices exercised at
RECEIVED EMAIL TODAY 4 Feb
isolation choir is planning a performance online of Mahler's 8th
- Symphony of 1000, one of the most exciting choral pieces to
perform, not often done because of the forces needed. Why
don't you join in? - see https://www.theselfisolationchoir.com/mahler-symphony-no-8
2 January 2021 : Quite a few members indicated
that you would like to start singing together again in the New
Year. Now that vaccinations have started, it's looking
more likely that we may be able to re-start soon, but also the
infection rate locally has increased, and I don't wish to add
you or me to the list of those infected. I do hope to be
able to organise something perhaps towards the end of January,
but it's likely to be restricted in numbers. I'll be more
specific as soon as I can.
Meanwhile, you can still join in with various "lockdown
choirs". The Self-Isolation choir starts rehearsals for
Mozart's Requiem on Monday 4th January - details at https://www.choraline.com/the-self-isolation-choir.
9 December : Members should have received an
email from me that I sent by MailChimp a few days ago. If
not, you can sign up for future emails by clicking here.
further details about the email newsletter towards the bottom of
The news that vaccines are now becoming
available means that we can look forward to meeting again, but I
doubt whether we can have a full concert before the summer
2021. However, if we can meet, maybe in small groups, from
early 2021, I will arrange for that to happen. We will in
any case postpone the Brahms Requiem until we can resume full
rehearsals - we will restart with something simpler. Many
thanks to those who have replied to my emails - I would
appreciate opinions from other members too - do please let me
know your views on returning to sing. My email address is
further down this page.
27 October : Many thanks
to those members who have written to me in response to the
newsletter I sent out some days ago - another will follow
shortly. A few have wondered if we can arrange something
online, but I feel that this would have only a small
response. For those who miss singing and want to take
part in something online, I do recommend the various online
choirs that are offering this. The Self-Isolation choir
is linked to below (in my paragraph of 28th July). I
have today received an invitation for singers to join in an
online production of Mozart's Requiem - this sounds exciting,
and I do recommend members to give this a go if you want to
sing. It's at https://www.runbysingers.org/virtual-vienna
2 September : We now as an amateur
society have government permission to meet to rehearse,
subject to social distancing, and the guidelines also
suggest other precautions to avoid virus
spreading. We are also subject to conditions set
by the owners of the room we hire for rehearsals.
All of these combine to make it impossible currently to
resume rehearsals, and I would imagine that many of our
members would be quite diffident about returning at the
moment. So the present view is that we will not
prepare for a November or December concert, but hope to
resume rehearsals in January 2021, deferring our planned
programme for 2020 by a year. However, if it's
possible to meet in December, we will organise a "Come
and Sing" event in place of our planned December concert
(December 12th), singing perhaps part of "Messiah" with
some Christmas music.
We have had a communication from tenor Jonathan Hanley,
who has been one of our soloists on a few occasions
in recent years:
I hope you don’t mind me getting in touch.
You may remember I came to sing for you in Holmfirth on a
few occasions while I was studying at York. I am now a
freelance singer and part of my work includes being a
member of Stile Antico, the early music vocal ensemble.
We’re performing in a special online festival called ‘Live
from London’, which will showcase amazing ensembles such
as The Sixteen, Voces8, the Academy of Ancient Music, and
Stile Antico are delighted to be a part of it. Concerts
will be broadcast weekly from 1st August. I hope you will
consider joining us virtually for it!
Season tickets are priced keenly at £80
for all 10 events, whilst tickets for individual concerts
are available at £12.50. Stile Antico’s performance, Treasures of the English
Renaissance, which features stunning music by
Tallis, Byrd, Sheppard and others, will be streamed
as-live on September
26th. All tickets include full on-demand access
to the broadcast(s) they cover until 3rd October, and
subsequently to post-produced concert film(s) in 4K
UHD from 4th-31st October.
The festival has been structured to help
support all these ensembles financially, helping us to
offset some of the losses suffered as a result of the
COVID-19 pandemic. Ordering tickets through Stile Antico
will further benefit us at no additional cost to you. You
may also add a donation to the group, should you so
choose. You can buy tickets at www.stileantico.co.uk/livefromlondon.
28 July: There's been very little change in the guidelines
for choral societies, so it seems unlikely that we will be
resuming normal activities in the near future. I had
hoped that we would be able to perform the Brahms Requiem
as our November concert, and whilst this isn't definitely
off, it's looking less likely.
My church choir has been continuing to sing - at home - to
tracks I've prepared, and Jim Morgan and I have put the
recordings together and created choral videos which we've
put out each Sunday since lockdown started. We've
managed an anthem each week in addition to hymns
(including some we couldn't sing live because there aren't
enough of us, but one singer can record more than one
part!) : these can be found on New Mill church's website newmillpc.org.uk
. As a result of this, Holmfirth Choral has taken a
back seat - but I have recommended members to consider the
Self Isolation Choir - which is
still expanding and I'm getting more emails about their
activities. Do look them up.
Chris Pulleyn (who played one of the pianos in Carmina
Burana, and sang tenor solos for us) was to have organised
a celebratory concert, which was cancelled. So he
instead streamed a concert online on Saturday 25th April,
7pm, on YouTube. You can watch this at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=floj8oiNcss
3 April: I've had several more emails from ChoraLine
about singing at home - some of you may be interested in
this, and the details are on the ChoraLine website.
Do let me know please if you are taking part in any of
29 March: email from ChoraLine about
singing Messiah at home. See below, and the
Isolation Choir website.
28 March: We are postponing the March concert until
Sunday November 8th. (This becomes the 3rd
concert of the 2019-20 season). The three concerts of
the 2020-2021 season will take place hopefully on 12
December 2020, 20 March 2021, and a date in June/July
to be decided.
March: CORONAVIRUS - we are now following
government advice, and SUSPENDING OUR THURSDAY
REHEARSALS until further notice, most likely the end of
the summer break, but watch this space!
12 March: CORONAVIRUS - we have decided to
postpone our March concert, to a date to be decided,
possibly in September.
REHEARSALS when re-started will be at Holmfirth
Methodist Church, Thursdays 7.30 until 9.15 (normally). New members
welcome! As you know, we are low in
numbers particularly in the tenor and bass sections - if you
know of any able tenors and basses, do please invite them.
March Concert: We have been
fortunate to borrow a set of Brahms Requiem copies
locally, enough for all members. However if anyone
insists on buying a copy, we are using the Peters Edition
(EP 3672). This edition (each page has the number
10115 at the bottom) was first published almost 100 years
ago, and can be freely downloaded from imslp (but has 95
pages of music), but is still in print. The
publishers price is £8.95, and it's available at
musicroom.com at that price, but amazon.co.uk and
ebay.co.uk both have copies available more cheaply
(search for EP3672 under books).
20 March 2021 (Holmfirth Civic Hall) - Mozart Mass in C
; Beethoven Mount of Olives
Summer 2021, date, venue and programme to be decided
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