After many choir-free months over the summer, it was a great pleasure to welcome so many people back for the new term to our online “virtual” Newcastle Bach Choir rehearsal experience. This format proved to be very successful when we trialled it before the summer break, so with a few small refinements, we will be continuing rehearsals in this format for the immediate future during the North East local lockdown.

After a warm welcome from Tessa and a technical introduction to the Zoom format from Adrian, Eric gave us some really interesting background information about the pieces that we will be rehearsing this term, as well as the composers who wrote them (I was particularly interested to hear about Gerald Finzi’s links to the early Bach Choir). This term, our main focus is on Finzi’s Magnificat, which is actually a piece that we had been intending to be singing in in Summer’s concert, so it was great to eventually start work rehearsing it at last.

For the rehearsal itself, we started with a run through of the Magnificat in full, with a backing track created by around 12 willing volunteers, which really helped us to feel our way through the piece remotely (and thank you very much to all the people who worked on putting this together). Following this, we then started to look in more detail at the first half of the work, moving through each of the elements much like in a normal rehearsal, running through from the beginning to the “All generations shall call me blessed” section.

On a personal note, it was fantastic to see (and hear) so many people in attendance at the rehearsal (I think the Zoom participant counter went up to at least 63), and hearing everyone talking prior to the rehearsal just served as a reminder of how important a social activity choral singing can be, and how much we are all looking forward to being able to rehearse in person again in the, hopefully not too distant, future! I know that I am thoroughly looking forward to continuing the work on the second half of the Magnificat in next week’s virtual rehearsal.

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