Marooned in Quarantine

Monday 1st June, 2020 - 5:12pm

Writing this article sounds like science fiction, but nothing could be farther from the truth. At the time of writing, the country is just beginning to emerge from a nightmare. Words like lockdown, social distancing, self isolation and shielding were not even words that would have been thought of at the turn of the year, but now at the beginning of June they have just become part of our normal vocabulary. All because of a little organism called Coronavirus (COVID-19). (For posterity) It is an infectious disease which affects the respiratory system and is spread primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and the effects of which could be minor or fatal depending on your age and medical history.

Its impact in the UK began in late February, early March. For the choir it meant having to stop rehearsing because singing was the epitome of how the virus could be spread. As we now emerge from this wretched lockdown some twelve weeks after commencing, which the choir (and the country) have been enduring, choir members realise how lucky they are in belonging to such a caring organisation. With the help of modern technology choir members have been able to stay in contact with each other and keep each others spirits lifted. It truly is like belonging to one large family.

The bright idea was had some weeks into the imposed lockdown to hold a virtual choir practice on a Monday night via ‘Zoom’. What is ‘Zoom’ you ask? It allows you to virtually connect via your computer with others when in-person meetings are not possible. This made these times seem much more bearable, as it helped everyone using it feel connected, as well as being able to get together and rehearse. During the first couple of weeks of May over half the choir were able to join in and it continued to grow. There was even time to enjoy an orange juice and a bit of a chat afterwards! Mind you looking at the faces and with the barbers closed, some in the choir were not sure whether they were seeing people or shaggy dogs!

But the beauty of these ‘Zoom’ sessions was that we were keeping in contact with each other. As the weeks progressed, it became easier to sing at home whilst not being able to hear anyone else singing. But with Steve conducting and Dave Williams playing the music as well as the banter between each of the choir sections, it’s has felt like a normal choir practice!

In these dark and difficult times that we’re living through, music does play a significant role in uplifting our spirits., Mousehole has not been without music. Throughout the weeks on a Thursday evening the choir’s recorded dulcet tones could be heard before the social clapping which was held in support of all those in the NHS and all the key workers who have undertaken a wonderful and in some cases a mentally arduous job. It appears that the music has been well received and was an absolute tonic to everyone who had heard it. It has also been heard up the hill in Paul, possibly Sheffield (not the Yorkshire one!). Listening to the choir was, and continues to be, an escape from the realities of lockdown.

It is timely to remember those who are putting their health on the line to look after us, so thank you to all those working in the NHS and to all the key workers. Over the last couple of weeks in the midst of the lockdown the choir could be heard singing for those that had recently died and were played as a mark of respect. Two pieces of music that have resonated with the community were ’Home, Home From The Sea” and “We Rise Again”. These were dedicated to one of our choir members, Colin Keith and the other for the Mousehole artist, Nigel Hallard.

It has been said on countless occasions that the choir are a community, but this crises, whilst it continues, has shown how supportive it is. For some of the choir who live miles away from each other it has provided a sense of belonging that has been so invaluable to everyone. The choir are exceptional in that regard. It will be a while yet before we can get together and resume practising (for what we don’t know), but when we do we will enjoy each other’s company.

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