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Herts & Soul Community Choir's virtual Christmas 2021 concert supports Isabel Hospice once again

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For most choirs, it's been a year of challenges and scarce opportunities to perform. But Bishop's Stortford's Herts & Soul Community Choir has once more embraced the shifting guidelines with its characteristic 'Soulster' enthusiasm and spirit, writes member Lucy Gray.

Since April 2020, the choir had been singing virtually together, but after a short spell this summer when Government guidance allowed a limited number to sing outside in a socially distanced capacity, full indoor rehearsals were finally given the go-ahead in September.

For the first time in two years, it also allowed the choir to perform at the Bishop's Stortford Remembrance Sunday service in Castle Gardens and at the Isabel Hospice Lights of Love service in Market Square at the start of December. It looked like all would be well for their ever-popular Christmas concert.

However, the live concert scheduled for Saturday December 18 became another casualty in a long list of live events that have been pulled at the last minute. But did this stop Herts and Soul in their tracks? No, of course it didn't!

Musical directors Susie Savage and Peter Clayton and choir founder and director Chris Humphreys did a little reorganisation, called the obliging Soulsters to a different plan of action and switched to an online format instead.

Interspersed with footage of the choir singing on stage at their last live rehearsal, home videos and Christmas sing-alongs for viewers, Here We Come A-Soulsterin', Herts & Soul's virtual Christmas 2021 concert offering, will spread the joy and bring a welcome window of heart-warming festive cheer. And just as importantly, it aims to raise much-needed funds for Isabel Hospice.

Herts and Soul Community Choir's musical directors Susie Savage and Peter Clayton (53934444)
Herts and Soul Community Choir's musical directors Susie Savage and Peter Clayton (53934444)

Herts & Soul's ethos is as much about personal benefit as it is about giving back to the community.

“Singing in a group connects you to something outside normal day-to-day affairs," says Chris Humphreys. "Our Soulsters can vouch for the affirming experiences, flourishing friendships and sense of wellbeing that can be shared together through singing.

“To pool such a powerful collective energy and channel it into a format that can be seen by an unlimited audience, whilst also fundraising for local community causes, is the icing on our 2021 choral cake.

"We know the last two years have hit all charities hard. Isabel Hospice does such amazing work with local families and it's important that we continue to support them in whatever way we can.

Herts & Soul Community Choir (53934421)
Herts & Soul Community Choir (53934421)

"The response to our 2020 Herts & Soul virtual Christmas concert was fabulous, with donations exceeding £2,000 for the hospice. If we can get somewhere near that this year, our determination will be rewarded.” As of December 23, £780 had been donated.

Isabel Hospice's Stortford area support group leader Renee Friend said: "Whilst it is a great shame that we cannot all enjoy another wonderful Herts & Soul Christmas concert as one, we are very grateful for the ongoing support the choir gives to the hospice. This year's virtual concert is another cracker which everyone will enjoy."

The 45-minute concert can be viewed on YouTube here. You can donate to Isabel Hospice via the JustGiving page. For more information on the choir, go to www.hertsandsoul.co.uk.

The Herts and Soul choir (53934437)
The Herts and Soul choir (53934437)

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