Two Years On. Rehearsing At The Pirates Ground

Thursday 17th February, 2022 - 12:12pm

Quoting Yoda from the immensely popular Star Wars films,

“In a dark place we

find ourselves, and a 

little more knowledge 

lights our way”

Looking back over the last couple of years how true this is. The light at the end of the tunnel was just a distant glimmer two years ago when the choir stopped practising to deal with the Covid pandemic. It seems now that it was a long time ago in a galaxy far far away……….

Whilst we are still dealing with Covid and learning to live with it life has begun to return to normal and for the choir the early face to face choir practices began last July.

Men’s voices have often been raised at The Mennaye, the Cornish Pirates rugby ground in Penzance, but never like on the first Monday evening in July 2021 when MMVC came there to rehearse. It had never been done like this before. Forty choir members lined up in the rain, wind and thunder and spaced themselves out in the grandstand, with everyone wondering if this was the right time to start.

But the choir did it! The grandstand provided shelter and had plenty of space (and ventilation), David Evans set up the keyboard and the PA system, the Club opened the toilets (though not the bar), and for the first time since February 2020 the choir came together and sang.

Steve Lawry, the MD chose ‘We Rise Again’ to start, ‘And Can It Be’ to end, and as the light faded Annette and June shone a torch to see the music. The choir’s longest-serving member (Derek Harvey) was there as well as the newest ones (Tristan and Neil). It was good to greet people seen only on Zoom screens or not at all since March 2020.

They weren’t ideal conditions for rehearsing, to say the least, but it showed that the Pirates’ grandstand worked for the choir whatever the weather. This was just the beginning. No-one was sure what the next weeks and months would bring, but the choir took an important step and the planning began for returning more and more to the MMVC that everyone remembered from before lockdown. Gene Kelly said it all:

‘Singing in the rain, just singing in the rain,
What a wonderful feeling, I’m happy again’. 

The choir continued at The Mennaye until the evenings got too dark before returning to weekly rehearsals at Paul Church where they also gave a Christmas carol concert (the first one indoors for nearly two years), which was heartily welcomed by the audience as well as ourselves. Also, this year, the choir have returned to a full programme of events and performances.

Even now, it is pertinent for the choir to remember and sincerely thank, the Cornish Pirates especially Phil Westren, for all they did to make those early rehearsals possible.

Finally a quote from one of the opening sequences of one of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars episodes is currently very apt:

“Never give up hope no matter how dark things seem”

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