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Bishop’s Stortford Choral Society back on song as in-person rehearsals resume after 18-month absence




Bishop’s Stortford Choral Society (BSCS) has resumed in-person rehearsals after a break of 18 months caused by the pandemic.

Up to 50 members gathered at the United Reformed Church on Thursday night (Sept 9) to start work on the choir’s winter concert, featuring the Nelson Mass by Joseph Haydn and JS Bach’s Magnificat in D.

The committee followed advice from the organisation, Making Music, and put in place a number of Covid-secure measures to reassure members, including a one-way system and restrictions on mingling indoors.

Bishop's Stortford Choral Society resumes rehearsals (51174886)
Bishop's Stortford Choral Society resumes rehearsals (51174886)

Ros Rowe, chair of BSCS, said the measures were advisable to protect everyone, but added that they did not spoil the choir’s delight at singing together again.

For Derek Fenny, who sings in the tenor section, being back at choir immediately felt like old times: “I feel like Rip van Winkle. Eighteen months of my life seem to have disappeared just like that!”

And second soprano Margaret Trickett said she was absolutely delighted to return. “We’ve come through it all. I’m on cloud nine,” she said.

Bishop's Stortford Choral Society resumes rehearsals (51174894)
Bishop's Stortford Choral Society resumes rehearsals (51174894)

Everyone agreed that meeting again in person certainly beat online Zoom rehearsals, which were the only option for keeping the choir going during the pandemic.

Some members struggled with the technical limitations of being in a Zoom choir, which allowed each person to sing along from home with the piano accompaniment but without being able to hear their fellow choir members’ voices.

“It’s great to be back, just singing with everyone and hearing all the other voices at last,” said Noel Younger (bass), during a break in Thursday’s rehearsal.

So what was the verdict from Richard Brain, musical director of BSCS, after the first rehearsal back together?

Bishop's Stortford Choral Society musical director Richard Brain
Bishop's Stortford Choral Society musical director Richard Brain

“I’m very pleased,” he said. “Everybody was enthusiastic, engaged and sounding in great voice. A really encouraging start to what I reckon will be a fun year doing what we love – singing together!

The choir is keen to welcome prospective new members to their open evening next Thursday (September 23) at the United Reformed Church in Water Lane. The rehearsal starts at 7.45pm.

Covid-secure measures will remain in place for the time being and singers are invited to take their own refreshments. For more information on joining and on how to contact BSCS, visit www.singwithbscs.org.uk.

Bishop's Stortford Choral Society resumes rehearsals (51174896)
Bishop's Stortford Choral Society resumes rehearsals (51174896)

BSCS’s winter concert with Bishop’s Stortford Sinfonia will take place at All Saints’ Church, Stansted Road, on Saturday December 4.

Helen Miller



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