‘Not so’ Normal Service has resumed!

Good news! WE ARE BACK! NCS started their 2020-21 rehearsals on 14th September, only one week behind the normal start date. Given the amount of time spent keeping up with Government and DCMS guidance, supported all the way by the amazing team at Making Music, lobbying our MPs to lend weight to the argument for resuming amateur music making, preparing risk assessments to accord with those of our Covid Secure rehearsal venue, etc, that’s a good effort. But of course, local restrictions and ever changing guidance meant we moved two steps forward and one back, bit like the Hokey Cokey!

Canvassing our members too, to see who was ready to start the new season, Yes, No, Maybe Later. Understandably, some were wary of starting back straight away but thankfully we got enough ‘Yes’s’ to take up the much reduced seating capacity at our rehearsal venue, due to social distancing measures. Less than half the full NCS contingent ,but what we lack in numbers, we make up for in resolve to keep on singing and to adapt to the new ‘normal’.

We are feeling our way at the minute, getting used to singing wearing a face covering as is required now. Definitely a different experience sitting so far apart, warmly wrapped up as the requirements are for well ventilated spaces, and the rehearsal time reduced by half to meet current recommendations. However as a number of the YES’s have said ‘It is so wonderful to be meeting and singing together’,..’Came away the last time revived and refreshed, it was so good – thank you to everyone.

You can view our Newcastle Choral Society Risk Assessment here

What’s on the Horizon?

Blended rehearsals, live streaming, Zoom sessions and believe it or not, we are recruiting! Please contact enquiries@newcastlechoralsociety.org.uk

Can this be real?

Rehearsal Nr 1

Masks ahoy!

Rehearsal Nr 2

Not the usual garb for a Musical Director!

Not quite the usual outfit for our Musical Director

Rehearsal Nr 2

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#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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A Sea Symphony – New date

This NCS joint concert with Hertfordshire Chorus,conductor David Temple, planned for 3 May 2020 at Sage Gateshead, has been postponed as a result of the current coronavirus outbreak and Government guidance.

NCS acknowledges the continued support from the Hadrian Trust and the Sir James Knott Trust.

Good News: NEW DATE: SUNDAY 16TH MAY 2021 at 3pm

While the duration of the current coronavirus crisis remains uncertain, our Musical Director Mark Anyan has devised an exciting project to keep activities going and our members engaged.

Our two virtual choirs in lockdown have joined forces to celebrate the man who was once an outsider but now a hero, to be commemorated on the fifty-pound note in 2021. Not only is Alan Turing’s work in breaking the German Enigma Code thought to have saved 14 million lives and possibly have shortened WW2 by two years, but he is also recognised as the “father of computer science”. His input led to many of the technologies by which the world communicates today.

 Covid-19 brought everything to a grinding halt in March and with Sage closed and the concert cancelled, Musical Director  Mark Anyan, offered to put a long-distance virtual choir together to sing three pieces from Codebreaker. The resulting video will be released on You Tube on Sunday May 3rd at 3pm, the time the performance was due to take place

Link to Youtube https://youtu.be/BWrFwA-0dEs LIVE AT 3pm on Sunday 3rd May

A second video Codebreaker VE75 Celebrations – We’ll meet Again  As the Nation celebrates VE75 day, a second video is to be released on YouTube on 8th May 2020 at 3pm to coincide with the “Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2”. The video pays particular homage to Wilfred Owen, WW1 War Poet, whose poem ‘Song of Songs’ has been set to haunting music from Codebreaker.

The unaccompanied voices soar over images which capture the poignant moments of war, victory and celebration, paying tribute to all those who have lost their lives before their time.

Link to Youtube second video https://youtu.be/TxbOUeBSiGs LIVE AT 3pm on Friday 8th May 2020

With the blessing of the composer and publisher (Stainer and Bell Ltd),(https://stainer.co.uk/shop/d108/) and aided by modern technology, the singers worked in isolation at home, armed with laptops, headphones and scores.  Regular Zoom sessions kept both choirs engaged and on track. The project has turned the tide of gloom and worry of isolation into a positive experience which the choirs will remember with pride.

Once this crisis is over and the restrictions lifted on social gatherings, we will publish a revised programme of concerts for our loyal supporters and new audience members to enjoy.

AND we will be actively recruiting new members eager to perform with us and to enjoy all the benefits of being an NCS member!

 

 

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Mozart Requiem Concert Feb 1 2020

Newcastle Choral Society

Musical Director Mark Anyan

Mozart Requiem and Vivaldi Beatus Vir

Bethany Partridge: Soprano
Sarah Lucy Penny: Alto
Richard Pinkstone: Tenor
Greg Link: Bass

Orchestra North East

Saturday 1 February 2020, 7.30pm
BANQUETING SUITE, NEWCASTLE CIVIC CENTRE

We were very proud of this (almost) sell out concert! Super soloists, powerful Orchestra North East and masterful Mark Anyan driving us on to give a really exhilarating performance. Lots of great comments from the orchestra ‘brilliant’, our regular audience members ‘world class singing’,  and those new to NCS.

 

 

 

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Christmas at Home and Away

Our festive offering this year was in Trinity Church Gosforth on Saturday 7th December 2019:

Christmas at Home and Away

Musical Director Mark Anyan

Special Guests : Mouthful

The exciting 4-piece a Cappella vocal group who gave us 2 sets of really unusual and exciting singing!

Warren Smith accompanied us in style on the magnificent organ and piano. He had his own solo spot playing Toccata by Georgi Mushel

Lucy Anyan, the 8 year old daughter of Musical Director Mark Anyan, sang the treble solo for the first verse of Once in Royal David’s City. Lucy was very confident and sang beautifully!

Mark and Lucy Anyan with Warren Smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Come and Sing Mozart Requiem

‘Come and Sing’ Mozart’s magnificent REQUIEM
with members of Newcastle Choral Society
Musical Director: Mark Anyan

SATURDAY 14 SEPTEMBER 2019 10 TILL 3
TRINITY CHURCH GOSFORTH

We had an amazing day on 14th September! Under our Musical Director Mark Anyan’s command, a choir of 104 singers in total, made up of guests and members of NCS, worked hard all day – the powerful attraction of Mozart’s Requiem without a doubt! Thank you to everyone who came and the appreciative audience of family and friends plus some passers by, who came in at the end of the afternoon for an informal performance! ” It really was a very good performance” from an audience member.

Warren Smith, Director of Music at St Mary’s Church Ponteland was our superb guest organist. Our guest soloists were a delight; Emma Anyan Mezzo, Nerys Angel Soprano, Luke Busbridge Bass and multi tasking Mark Anyan as Tenor and Conductor!

Trinity Church is a marvellous venue and our thanks go to the team of staff and volunteers who manage events such as ours so immaculately.

Rehearsals now continue for the Feb 1st 2020 performance of Mozart Requiem in the Banqueting Suite at Newcastle Civic Centre at 7.30pm.

We will also be squeezing in a festive concert on Sat Dec 7th 2019 at Trinity Church again.

Diary Date:

SUNDAY 3rd May 2020 at 3.00pm

SAGE ONE GATESHEAD

NCS are delighted to be collaborating with Hertfordshire Chorus and their Musical Director David Temple in a blockbuster concert in Hall One. https://www.hertfordshirechorus.org.uk/ They are a very impressive choir and it is a privilege to be joining forces with them!

In the first half, the combined choirs of around 200 voices will be performing the North east premiere of James McCarthy’s Codebreaker’– an oratorio about the life of Alan Turing, the “father of computer science”, commissioned by Hertfordshire Chorus in 2014. It’s a terrific piece!

This will be conducted by Mark Anyan

In the second half,  David Temple will conduct Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony

It’s all go at NCS! Come and join us!!

 

 

 

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