The Hangover Of A Pandemic - Seven Concerts In Eight Weeks

Friday 22nd July, 2022 - 3:44pm

Hopefully Covid-19 is gradually receding, but in our singing the effects of the last two years have been quite dramatic. The choir, usually brimming with confidence, has taken an awfully long time to settle back into the groove. Voices were rusty, practicing on Zoom, was in no way good for singing together. The choir had to relearn to sing as a single unit from scratch. It started in August 2021 when the choir began to practice outside at Penzance and Newlyn Rugby Club. Not all the choir had the confidence to return, those that did were spaced out, making it difficult to hear each other. It really was not until after Easter 2022, that the majority returned, albeit under restrictions to reduce the impact of the pandemic. Singing indoors resumed and preparations began in earnest for the year.

The delayed Cornwall International was effectively a wake up call. The competition took place on Sunday 1st May and it’s true to say, the choir weren’t as successful as we thought we should have been. Having been lulled into a sense of false security by a very successful fund raising concert with Nankersey Male Choir in April for the Ukraine, the choir sang and obtained a mark that was far, far below both expectations and our own sense of confidence. Bitter disappointment and despondency was infused with a sense of realism, we were not as good as we thought we were. 

Over the next seven weeks, with concerts virtually on every weekend and the hard practices in between improvements began to show, although the comments after the concert in The Immaculate Conception Of Our Lady Catholic Church in Penzance on 21st May, from our MD still brought the choir back down to earth. “Thank you for some great and some okay singing at the Penzance Catholic Church Festival concert.  We are certainly not concert sharp yet, but we are getting there gradually!” Realism was now the order of the day. 

A couple of weeks later Sunday 5th June was a red letter day for the choir. The sun was shining and a large crowd gathered to hear the choir sing in their spiritual home for the first time in three years. The south quay of Mousehole harbour was lined with many people from near and far to listen to the concert and our musical director’s jokes. In the intervening time since the last outdoor concert, the jokes had not got any better, but the singing had! There was a marked difference from two weeks previous. Confidence was returning.

After a further two weeks of practice, it was absolutely wonderful being back in Paul parish church for the choir’s Midsummer concert. Supporting our welcome back was nature, it rained, it was cold and before the concert finished it was dark! What more could you ask for as a greeting after three years away! The elements did not deter, a large audience who gathered to listen to, an all most full strength choir and our special guest artist, Anna Zoshchuk who had also sung with the choir in the Catholic Church. This was our seventh concert in eight weeks and it was lovely to see so many people turn out to listen to the concert on what was one of the most foulest nights of the year. Resonating with the current situation in Ukraine, the choir sang ‘Anthem’ from Chess, which held a lot of meaning when listening to the words. Anna was in absolutely fine voice and it was wonderful to hear her singing especially ‘Oh not the moonlight’, a traditional Ukranian song which was sung, understandably, with a lot of emotion.

The choir have come along way since the dark days of disappointment at the beginning of May. The joy of singing together has returned. Pride and confidence in our singing ability is also returning.

Covid-19 has far from run its course, at the time of writing, there is an upturn in the numbers of people contracting it, but with the marvellous vaccines that have been created, it will hopefully mean that words like lockdown, social distancing, self isolation and shielding will be confined to history and normality can return which includes Mousehole Male Voice Choir being at the top of their game.
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