25 September 2021

Well, we did it!  Our first concert since March 2020.  And it’s so good to be back.

But it’s been a rocky road (and I’m not talking about cake).  Three questions have been exercising our minds:  Will there be a concert?  Will there be a choir?  Will there be an audience?  Fortunately the answer to all three was (spoiler alert!) ‘yes’.

So, ‘Will there be a concert?’  We had planned to give one in darkest Kent in the summer of 2020, but, not surprisingly, it was cancelled.  Everything went very quiet for a long time (we weren’t allowed to sing) and then we had a date – 3rd July 2021 – not in Kent, but in Dulwich.  Unfortunately, a Government announcement scuppered our plans at short notice (after publicity had been printed), and we were back to square one.  Finally we were able to reschedule to 25th September, and with the aid of strips of paper stuck over the original date on the flyers, we were able to save them, and the concert, from oblivion.

‘Will there be a choir?’  A lot of people hoped there would be one, but it wasn’t straightforward.  We weren’t sure whether singers would be happy to rehearse, so we prepared a risk assessment to ensure that everything would be as safe as possible.  Socially-distanced singing isn’t much fun, but it’s much better than not singing at all.  There was an additional frisson due to uncertainty about whether singing together was actually legal, and some singers decided that discretion was the better part of valour.  Others felt they could not take the chance of endangering the health of their families. Fortunately, there were other singers who, deprived of their usual opportunities to sing, joined us, either temporarily or permanently, and at last we had a choir.

‘Will there be an audience?’  We didn’t know whether people would be afraid to come out to a concert, or whether they would be absolutely desperate to hear live music.  We had been advised that tickets should be available only online, in advance, and we weren’t sure whether people would find their way to the Eventbrite website.  We managed to reach a compromise which would allow people to pay on the door, but electronically so as to avoid handling cash.  In the event, not many people did book in advance, but by 7.30 on the concert night a good number of seats were filled, and finally we had our audience.

All we had to do was deliver the programme; all they had to do was sit back and enjoy it.  We did; so did they.

Wendy Siemaszko