Back in March 2020, two weeks before the country was officially locked down, Rock Chorus had it's last live session. It had become very clear that we could not continue on as the infection spread and became a pandemic. Our lives were about to be turned upside down and for the first time in living memory we were to be confined to our homes, stoppped from seeing our loved ones and doing the things we took for granted.
It very quickly became apparent that doing without our friends, our connections and the activities we hold dear was not an option for many and the strength and solidarity of the fantastic community we have built in the last ten years has proved itself over the last five months.
How many of us had even heard of Zoom before this calamity struck? Probably not many but boy, did we take to it like ducks to water. Once we'd mastered it we ran four sessions every week not only singing some of our favourite Rock Chorus classics, but also learning new songs every week alternating between the tune and a close harmony. Lauren devised fun physical and vocal warm ups to begin each session just like back in the day (before the lockdown) and everyone felt uplifted afterwards and ready to face the next 5pm briefing. Then at the end of each Zoom class we'd chat and catch up with all our friends so even though we couldn't be together in the flesh, we could at least see one another and feel connected.
Zoom alone however, was not enough. Lauren wanted to replace the weekly live sessions with as much online content as possible so that every member felt they were getting as much or even more out of a Rock Chorus term than usual. So to that end Rock Chorus at Home was born and a new section added to our members' area. Lauren filmed 15-20 minute warm up/vocal technique videos and uploaded a new one to the site every week. She also added a song from the repertoire weekly with the moves, a different film for each part, Soprano, Alto and Tenor and arranged and added two brand new songs. Many members claimed it was just like having a private tutorial whenever they wanted it.
And so the 11 week summer term became 14 weeks and every member took the oopportunity to keep their voices in good health, looked after their lung health with breathing exercises and physical warm ups and kept their musical ears in trim by learning new harmonies and working on their songs and their technique and best of all, stayed in touch with each other.
Once the term finished we found that restrictions were also being lifted and we were able to meet in groups of 30 outdoors. So over the last few weeks we have been making the most of it and braving our beloved British Summer weather conditions and singing in parks, meadows and gardens all around our five locations.
We've sung in extreme heat! And 300 yards away from a funfare and in gale force winds and we have enjoyed every single minute of it!
In the pouring rain and look closely. The sign says 'Archery in Progress'!
And so to the Autumn term. We are still facing huge challenges, the world has not returned to normal and uncertainty surrounds us. But we will keep singing! The pandemic did not stop us and as we emerge from these dark times and our lives gradually return to normal we will prevail. And this term we will be learning Lauren's brand new original Rock Chorus song entitled... of course what else could it be called?