If you read my first article about the virtual choir recordings being made by the choristers at St John’s, I hope that you found it of interest. It has been a great way to keep the choir together and to continue making music for use in the churches in the parishes of Maindee and Lliswerry.
As we are unlikely to be able to sing in the choir stalls until after Christmas, Fr Will and I have decided to prepare for Christmas based on three scenarios: first, if we are back to normal, in that the choir will be able to sing from the choir stalls for church services, then we will hold a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols as usual; second, if we are unable to do this but maybe allowed to sing outside then we will plan to have a shortened Carol Service may be on the grass outside St John’s, using either a keyboard or, hopefully, a small brass group; and third, if we are still not allowed to sing anywhere, then we are preparing a Virtual Carol Service which will be held in the church and online, with ‘live’ readers and music provided by the St John’s Virtual Choir.
We will have to wait and see what the Welsh Government decides in terms of easing the lockdown as far as singing is concerned.
In the meantime……………………… we have begun our preparations for the virtual carol service. With the co-operation and support of Canon David Neale and choir dad, Lloyd Murray, we are recording three carols a month until December so that we have enough music to enhance the Christmas story as told in our Bible readings.
The first stage of the Virtual Choir productions is recording the organ accompaniments and recording a treble voice to provide guidance for choir members making their own individual recordings at home. I have been very grateful to Lloyd, his daughter, Lily, and one of our Head Girls, Rhianwen, for spending several hours in church during August to make these ‘base’ recordings and for Lloyd’s time and expertise in emailing the finished recordings to me before he set off on holiday! For fun, we dressed in our Christmas jumpers in an attempt to get into the Christmas mood in the middle of August, although, luckily it wasn’t very hot and sunny!!
I recorded all nine pieces on the organ separately, then Lily and Rhianwen took it in turns to record themselves singing to the organ accompaniment. This is not easy and, we all agree, not a pleasant experience when you listen to yourself singing alone and unaccompanied!! We completed all of the recordings over two long evenings.
Lily is holding a sign that says, “Recording, August 2020 for a Virtual Carol service”, which will go on choir records as something to remind us all of this awful pandemic and lockdown, but also of the ‘fun’ we have had in making the virtual choir recordings. I do hope the choristers involved in the recordings agree that it has been fun!! I’m not sure that all will agree!!
August 2020 (during the Covid-19 lockdown)