#BRING BACK MY CHOIR

#Bring back my Choir #Bring back my Band

This is a major campaign launched by Making Music. Working on behalf of amateur musicians in the UK, they are extremely proactive in representations to Government for a route back to performance.

‘Government guidance on reopening the performing arts published on 9 July has caused widespread disappointment, prohibiting amateur groups or groups with amateur participants – unlike professionals – to play or sing together, except in the numbers of people currently allowed to meet in public. 

It goes further to say that singing and playing wind and brass instruments isn’t even allowed in those numbers.

The guidance (England only) will only be reviewed when the results of just commissioned research into droplet and aerosol transmission of Covid-19 are available. The devolved administrations are expected to issue similar guidance shortly (Wales: this week, Scotland: next two weeks, NI: n/a).

Many groups, before the guidance came out, were looking forward to meeting again, even with strict risk management measures, and were already hard at work creating a new normal, just as pubs, hairdressers and gyms are doing – considering small sectionals outside, inventing new ways of making music together in socially distanced ways, planning some sort of future. Now, not even groups of 6 outside are permitted if you are singers or wind or brass players; and still only groups of 6 outside if you play anything else.

There is no explanation why amateurs are being treated differently to professionals in this guidance.’ Extract from Making Music’s campaign.

The music industry is currently being significantly supported by amateur musicians. Newcastle Choral Society along with many other local choirs, employs freelance professional music teachers, many professional singers, pays rent and purchases performance materials, as well as hiring concert halls and other venues. 

So until things change significantly, we must rely on our Zoom sessions on Monday nights. We had a surprise guest recently! Will Todd popped into give us a quick run through of Benedictus from his Mass In Blue. What a treat!

Our great achievement this year while in Lockdown was our 2 videos released on YouTube https://youtu.be/BWrFwA-0dEs and https://youtu.be/TxbOUeBSiGs Views exceeded 3000 over the 2 clips. Members of NCS and the Hertfordshire Chorus sang excerpts from James McCarthy’s Codebreaker which we would have sung in Sage Gateshead on 3.5.20 but now rescheduled for 16.5.21. All fingers crossed for that performance.

The second video released on the day of VE75, featured footage of the ‘Forces sweetheart’ Vera Lynn who died recently aged 103!  Poignant wartime images as a backdrop to the hauntingly beautiful ‘Sing me at Morn’.

Both videos featured recently on Star & Shadow Radio(https://www.starandshadow.org.uk) Star & Shadow Cinema is an entirely volunteer run community arts organisation supporting local artists, minority groups and disadvantaged people. It has recently moved online into the radio world.

One of our members is a volunteer there and recently co-presented a  programme called ‘Virtual Music-Making in a Virtual World’ about virtual music performances in the northeast. It featured NCS/HC performing Codebreaker and an interview with Mark Anyan our Musical Director.You can listen again here. It featured on 7th July 2020.
The programme also included contributions from several local bands and another choir, as well as interviews with Mark and other directors and performers.
Part of the purpose was to encourage other groups in the northeast to step into the virtual world themselves.
 
This may be the only choice while the guidance on Amateur performance is awaited!

 

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FEEL THE SPIRIT

On SATURDAY 29 JUNE 2019, 7.30pm

TRINITY CHURCH GOSFORTH

NEWCASTLE CHORAL SOCIETY and NCS CHAMBER CHOIR

Musical Director MARK ANYAN

A bit of Awakening and Toe Tapping went on in our FEEL THE SPIRIT  concert last month, the final one of the 18-19 season!

RUTTER Feel the Spirit

TIPPETT Five Spirituals

BRITTEN Rejoice in the Lamb

 The audience enjoyed the varied programme and particularly the guest organist Louise Reid who accompanied the choir for the Britten piece  Rejoice in the Lamb. Louise’s son Christopher, a chorister at Newcastle Cathedral, sang the Treble in the same piece. Members of the choir took solo roles in the Britten and the Tippett and were declared a hit!

 Sara Louisa Parry mezzo soprano delighted us with 3 pieces by Harold Arlen. Sara, combines a professional singing career with a busy teaching practice. She is a member of vocal trio Closer performing mainly in Switzerland, and in the UK with the Neil Sedaka tribute show Oh! Carol

Our own Eileen Bown accompanied the choir and Sara on piano

NCS Chamber Choir had their own section in the concert singing Charles Wood’s Full Fathom Five and Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies.

 

 

 

 

 

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‘AHOY’ Sing for the Mary Rose

We had a special Summertime Treat on Saturday July 1st!  Newcastle Choral Society led by Mark Anyan, joined forces with 60 children from 3 primary schools and the ‘Call Me Al’ quintet led by composer Alexander L’Estrange, to perform his joyous cantata ‘Ahoy’ Sing for the Mary Rose 

This was a unique opportunity for the children from  Seaton Sluice First School Whitley Bay, Eastlea Primary School Cramlington in south east Northumberland and from St Godrics RC Primary School in Durham to work with professional artists and the choir in the iconic Turbine Hall in The Castlegate, Melbourne Street Newcastle upon Tyne.

Specially designed banners hung from the 5m high steel columns in the Turbine Hall. Each school was given a signed banner to display in their school halls.

A quote from one of the Head teachers ‘It was a wonderful opportunity and I am sure that it is one that the children will remember forever. Thank you too for the banner which we will proudly hang in out school hall!

Funding was received from Hadrian Trust and the Roland Cookson Community Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.

Support was also acknowledged from The Castlegate and Emma Bunting Creative Designer

 

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