Covid-related regulations for non-professional choirs
With the Government continuing to vacillate and exhibit incoherence regarding the risks involved with the Indian variant, finding the latest Covid-related regulations for non-professional choirs has become an exercise in patience, determination and tenacity.
On Tuesday May 18th we eventually discovered updated guidance from the Government/DCMS by using the Google search "amateur choirs Covid-19" which took us to a somewhat obscure link:
www.gov.uk > guidance > working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19 > performing-arts#sec-2-4
Here it states that non-professional singers should be limited to a single group of 6 indoors, which means we cannot yet return to "in-person" rehearsals indoors.
DCMS confirmed to Classic FM: “We must take a cautious and phased approach in easing restrictions. Changes in step three in line with wider social contact rules mean an amateur choir or performance group of up to six people or two households can now sing indoors, and outdoors in groups of up to 30.”
So good to know that the well-being of non-professional choirs such as ours appears to be right at the forefront of the Government's road-map to get us all back singing again !!!! (We wish!!)
Lastest Government Guidance for Choirs
The latest Government guidance on singing is aimed at professionals but the principles should still apply to recreational Choirs.
Reopening Cultural Life in the UK - a plea for help
Although we sincerely hope that you enjoy the performances from The Virtual Sinfonia Chorale, we feel that we must look to the future and plan for the return to our more conventional way of performing.
We therefore wish to bring to your attention (if you haven't already been made aware of this) the campaign that has steadily been gathering momentum throughout the country, and request that all supporters of Choral Singing take action as detailed below in the hope of a successful conclusion for all of us....
It has been suggested by many prominent musicians that we need to let the Government know that choirs in the UK need some advice and some answers. The Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, has set up a task force to help re-open cultural life - but this task force does not include a single musician amongst its members! We need representation. We need to let the Culture Secretary know that choirs and choral singing are a vital part of life in the UK. Richard Morrison, in a recent Times article, pointed out that there are 70,000 choirs in the UK, nearly all of which are in suspended animation. Yet no one in Government is providing advice on where we can go next, despite there being a taskforce looking at how to reopen cultural life. We need to ask the Government to commission some authoritative scientific advice, and it is suggested that we each individually email the Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, at this email address:- email@example.com
A possible form of wording for an email is given here:
Dear Secretary of State,
I draw your attention to an article in The Times of 8th June by Richard Morrison, headlined "Will no one in Government stand up for British choirs?"
Here he points out that there are 70,000 choirs in the UK, nearly all of which are in suspended animation.
There are therefore well over a million people who would love to resume singing, an activity with well-known associated physical and mental health benefits, but who of course wish to restart only when it is safe to do so.
What all choirs need is authoritative, independent, scientifically based advice on, inter alia:
What national and local conditions must be met to ensure safety?
What configuration(s) should choirs adopt in rehearsals, and also in performance?
Is there any type of PPE that is effective and practical for choral singers?
Any guidance on social distancing and other measures which may need to be put in place in venues that choirs and orchestras put on public performances, to ensure that audience members feel safe to attend?
Please will your Department commission this research, to be completed and published by the end of July 2020?
(your signature, and choir or organisation you belong to)
It is suggested that you copy the email to
- your MP
- Radio 4 Front Row : firstname.lastname@example.org
- BBC Newsnight : NEWSNIGHT@bbc.co.uk
KEEP WELL - KEEP SAFE - KEEP SINGING!
The Sinfonia Chorale
The Choir goes Virtual again!
The Sinfonia Chorale's second venture into the world of Virtual Singing is brought to you in the shape of English Renaissance composer William Byrd's Ave verum Corpus.
Byrd (c.1543 - 1623) wrote in many of the forms current in England at the time, including various types of sacred and secular polyphony, keyboard (the so-called Virginalist school), and consort music.
Although he produced sacred music for Anglican services, sometime during the 1570s he became a Roman Catholic and wrote Catholic sacred music later in his life.
This virtual performance includes the added bonus of our resident Musical Director, Richard Roddis, conducting the Choir from the safety of his own home which has added greatly to the ensemble, and is complemented by Byrd's Earl of Salisbury Pavane played by Michael Overbury, the Choir's accompanist, on his own harpsichord.
This video is dedicated to all other choirs in isolation.
The Choir goes Virtual!
The Sinfonia Chorale - finding themselves in a similar situation to many other similarly talented Choirs from around the country, decided to adopt the well-known maxim - "If you can't beat them, join them".
So, with a bit of cajoling and arm-twisting (preserving a social distance!), several Members joined virtual forces and produced a work, (not exactly their best ever, and aptly described by their Director as having "novelty value") which is presented here for general entertainment in these difficult times.
Apologies are due to the late Thomas Morley (1557–1602) who wrote the original madrigal.
Whether or not he would have approved of the modern light-hearted lyrics is up for discussion, but having now had a taste of this new medium and with a completely new set of techniques to master, many of the Choir are looking forward to their next virtual performance - complete with virtual conductor - so watch this space for the next enthralling episode.
The Sinfonia Chorale supports NCYP
As part of our mission to interact with and support local communities, representatives from Sinfonia Chorale performed a medley of Christmas songs, ably assisted by many enthusiastic members from Notts Clubs for Young People - the Chorale's chosen charity for this year.
This heart-warming event took place in the foyer of ASDA, West Bridgford, much to the delight of the Christmas shoppers who were very generous with their donations.
The Charity was amazed with the amount raised and this, along with the retiring collection from our concert at West Bridgford Methodist Church, will go towards purchasing music equipment for therapeutic use.
The Sinfonia Chorale
We have been greatly saddened by the death of Tom Zadik, one of Sinfonia Chorale's most loyal members.
Tom had been a member of the Choir for many years and had served as treasurer as well as being responsible for setting up the mailing list and the original website several years ago. He was also very involved in the organisation of the Choir's trips abroad.
Music was one of Tom's great passions - even during his illness he continued to make music and attend rehearsals. Besides possessing a fine singing voice he played the viola regularly with friends and was a member of the Djanogly Community Orchestra. He was also a composer and many of you will remember his interesting and well researched talks at our "Come and Sing" events.
In 2011, Sinfonia Chorale and the Derwent Singers from Derby jointly performed the magnificent Te Deum by the 18th century Portuguese composer Antonia Teixeira. The music was held by the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon. Unfortunately, it was discovered that many parts of the modern edition made in the 1980's by Christopher Bochmann had been lost and so Tom headed a small group from both choirs who transcribed and re-edited the work to produce what was essentially a new edition of the piece. It was largely due to Tom's patience and perseverance that the task was completed.
Tom was a very modest man who never sought the limelight. He was a good friend who was always willing to "go the extra mile".
Although he will be sorely missed his legacy lives on through the music which he composed.
Sinfonia Chorale become a FLASHMOB at Tesco!
On Saturday 22nd November, almost half of the Sinfonia Chorale, together with their intrepid Director Richard Roddis, braved the challenges thrown down by the tramworks in Beeston and assembled at Tesco and became a FLASHMOB promoting their forthcoming concert of Handel's Messiah at Christ Church Chilwell.
Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your point of view, iPads, iPods, even cameras etc were there to record this auspicious event for posterity - here's one of the very first submitted for public consumption!