Choir and Music
St Andrew’s choir under lockdown!
An April update from our Musical Director, Jane Eldred
So far, for me personally, the worst week in the progress of the pandemic was the week beginning 16 March, especially the first three days when I received a deluge of emails cancelling all the musical activities I normally do, church services were completely suspended and we received notice that schools would close on the Friday. Feelings of shock and almost bereavement ensued, I’m sure felt by everyone. And I could not hold a choir practice that week, even just for the trebles.
Zoom is in the room...
It was really remarkable how quickly everyone started to think of ways the situation could be mitigated, and how speedily we all turned to technical solutions. I was way behind on the tech and it has been a steep learning curve, but now I find it hard to believe that on 16 March I had never heard of Zoom! Within a week of the cancelled choir practice I had downloaded it, practised using it, and had a virtual birthday meeting with my family on it! I was ready for virtual choir practice!
Choir practice without leaving the house...
So, I sent out the link and waited to see whether anyone would ‘tune in’. Lo, at 7.00pm on Friday 27 March most of St Andrew’s choir appeared on my screen in their little windows! It was so lovely to see everyone and they seemed very happy to have something to do on Friday evenings and to just connect. And they have been keen to carry on through the school holidays, so we have had four practices at the time of writing. Of course, it’s not like a
live practice – I have had to get to grips with the muting/unmuting, sharing screens so everyone can see the music and words and doing my own piano accompaniment, which, as the choir knows, is a challenge for me! And the singers can only hear me and Colin and themselves when they sing along – and I can’t hear them. But I’m sure they are note-perfect! Sound quality has been a bit of an issue but I think I have worked out ways of making it a bit better.
Recording layers of harmony...
Another skill I have learned is the use of software allowing me to record multi-tracks, so Colin (whose assistance has been invaluable – thanks, husband) and I have been able to record things in 4 and 5 parts between us. I’ve sent these to the choir as study aids but they are also available to listen to here. The recordings below include the anthem that would have been sung on Easter Sunday (The angel rolled that stone away
), plus some others. Christ the Lord is risen again
is the anthem we might have sung on the Sunday after Easter.
Easter Music recorded by Jane and Colin Eldred
At the time of writing, I’m some way off being able to do those clever split-screen recordings you see on social media etc – but in the fullness of time we might be able to do a remote choir recording, maybe! I’m also aware that there are those who don’t have the technical means to join us on a Friday. If there is anything musical I can do to help you feel connected please do let me know. For example, we did record a Love Hymns request and sent it to the person concerned. We’d be very happy to do some more of those - just ask. Also, if you don’t normally sing in the choir but would like to try out a Zoom practice, please email me and I’ll send you the link, or phone me. I send all the materials out before the practice by email. Singing is good for the soul!
Jane’s contact details:
Our building may be closed, but church continues and at St Andrew's we remain Here with you and Here for you.
Our Choir provide musical leadership and an anthem for the Sunday morning Eucharist on all Sundays except the second Sunday in the month, when for the All-Age Service we have a music group (usually consisting of flutes, clarinet, saxophone, violin, viola, string bass and piano).
While we use a good deal of “traditional” church music, both for congregational hymns and anthems, we do include modern worship songs and hymns as well. During Advent we use Celtic-style services which make more use of the piano and unaccompanied singing.
St Andrew’s Church Choir is always keen to welcome new members of any age (from 7 to 107!) who will be committed to singing with us. We rehearse every Friday during term time in the church (Junior Choir from 7pm to 8pm; Adult Choir from 7.30pm to 9pm). We sing most Sunday mornings and at occasional special services.
For more details contact the Musical Director, Jane Eldred: 01992 503658
The young choir members up front...
All-Age Service - Music Group
Selected choir members at Southwark Cathedral in 2009.
Do you have a favourite hymn that we haven’t sung at church lately? One that means something special to you? One you would like sung on a special occasion? Alan and Jane have always welcomed suggestions as to which hymns they choose, but now it is even easier to make your choice known to them. At the back of the church (on the back pew in the nave) is a slip on which to write your choice (it doesn’t matter which hymn book it comes from) together with a ‘Love Hymn’ box to drop them in. You may also email your request to Rev. Alan Stewart (email@example.com).