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Making Waves In Lockdown

Thoughts from our Choir Leader

Sitting in my hammock in the garden, watching the acrobatics of the house martins who nest under the eaves of our house, I am feeling extremely lucky and as grateful as everyone else is to live in North Northumberland. This peculiar year has given me time to cherish our landscape - and seascape - even more than usual.

But I miss singing with other people, whether in lessons (although online lessons are surprisingly rewarding) or with my band Treble In Mind who should have been appearing at BAAfest in Bellingham on the first weekend in September.

And I miss you, Harbour Lights. I miss the sound we make. I miss the energy in the room and the beauty of the harmonies. I miss the puzzled looks as I give confusing instructions and the quizzical glances as I ask folk to sing higher than normal!

Actually.... I don’t miss those as I still get them coming towards me from a computer screen every Thursday evening! THANK YOU for being so committed and enthusiastic about ‘keeping going’. But it’s not just the ‘zoomers’ - I also have emails and texts from other folk who just don’t get on with the virtual sessions or prefer to dip in now and then. Keep in touch!

Our committee are amazing - who knew that the ‘newbies’ were going to have this challenge to face. Mary, Paul, Alison and Susan are fantastic and thank goodness for them! Vivienne, Carol and Kate have also been truly generous with their time and support as we have all worked to create the amazing website (thank you Lesley) and found a way to progress.

I have a plan! Although we don’t know how long it will be before we can meet in person, I am not wasting this time. My next group choir lesson (at 9.00am Weds 26th August) is entitled ‘Feeling Secure’ and will be the start of a few sessions aimed at helping everyone feel comfortable to take ownership of their own singing - in other words, to feel more confident that they are hitting the right notes, can find their way back into their harmony if they stray, and really enjoy the physical process of singing with a bit of technique. We all know there are a few individuals in the choir that we like to sit next to because they are usually accurate/project well/make us feel comfortable! YOU KNOW WHO I MEAN. Well, my mission is to make you all feel like those people!

Get in touch with me and let me know what you want; I can make some short teaching videos or post YouTube links, I can offer one to one lessons online or any extra written material - I am working on sourcing a good ‘basics guide’ for music theory and will post it in choir resources.

This separation shall pass, everyone, and in the meantime we can work on our skills - me too!

Here's a 5-minute sketch I did back in May, rediscovering a long-dormant urge to draw.

Top photo is from the Ocean Choir. A joint collaboration - singing in the sea, Pettico Wick, off St Abbs Head, August 2019 - set in motion by Jane Hardy, Liza Cole & Sarah Gray.

Sarah Gray, August 2020



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