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Modern choirs for people who love to sing

VinChoir’s virtual concert

Last night was our first (and last!) virtual Christmas concert of the year, and what a wonderful night it was!

We had many choir members who wanted to get involved, so Jude wrote a poem based on ‘The Night Before Christmas’ which was read throughout the evening, interspersed with videos from lockdown and Christmases past and – of course – our signature terrible jokes!

Nothing can replicate the feeling of hundreds of singers and audience members being in a room together, but with nearly 300 people signing in to watch the evening, it was the closest we could get to the real thing.

It was quite emotional watching the videos, some filmed in those early days of lockdown when we were blissfully ignorant of tier systems, and the word ‘bubble’ wasn’t yet used to describe those you live with [previously known simply as ‘family’]. Watching us all dancing around in our houses in various degrees of fancy dress brought back memories of filming them and some very strange evenings where my husband started questioning my sanity! Then there were the Christmas songs from years gone by in Hays Galleria, on board the QEII on the way to Bruges and during one of our Christmas concerts at the Jubilee Community Centre.

We’ve reluctantly grown so used to being apart that it was a poignant reminder of a time when we could all cram together in a room and sing our hearts out knowing people COULD hear us! I can only speak for myself, but I shed a tear or two during those videos. Singing along, reflecting on how we all took these moments for granted; who could ever have foreseen 2020?

Amongst the choir videos were three special additions: 

Mark wrote a ditty about our shopping habits during lockdown which was absolutely hilarious – I’m hoping we can share this video since it’s one you don’t want to miss!

Bob Hopkins had re-written the words to ‘Chains’ and he and Vivienne recorded a brilliant video with them chained up with paper chains singing it! Well done Bob!

Finally, Mark and Jude put together a duet of ‘Baby it’s Cold Outside’, with their videos recorded separately and put together as one song. It was really special seeing them singing “together”, especially since they sang this duet at our real life Christmas concerts last year so it brought back wonderful memories. It featured some beautiful Dad dancing from Mark, and with the amount of coats Jude was wearing at the end I don’t think she had any chance of getting cold!

All in all, a lovely evening with choir friends and family, with people joining us from all over the UK, Canada and Australia!

Thank you so much to everyone who joined us last night and helped us to end this strange choir year on a high. As you know, we always like to raise money for local causes during our performances and last night was no different. We are supporting our local branch of Age UK and thanks to your generosity have already raised a staggering £1200 (correct at time of writing). We can’t thank you enough; this has been a difficult year for many and we know that times are hard, so thank you to you all. Your kindness will make all the difference to those Age UK supports. If you would still like to donate, then the link is: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/vinchoir.

For those who missed it (and for those who would like to read it in full) here is the poem penned by Jude:

‘Twas three weeks before Easter and all through the land,

We entered a future that no-one had planned.

 

No singing, no choir, no meeting, no friends,

We said “let’s just hope we’ll be back when it ends”.

 

Our lives were so different, full of new rules,

Wash hands more often and shut all the schools.

 

We learned to adapt all the things that we did,

As we all stayed home and changed how we lived.

 

(Karma Chameleon VinChoir video)

 

So long without choir, what could be worse,

We wished we could think of a way to rehearse.

 

With no end in sight, the future looked bleak,

And then an idea how to meet up each week!

 

There’s a place on the web, you can rent out a room –

With space for a choir – A place that’s called ‘Zoom’!

 

So that is how virtual inChoir was born,

To rescue our flock, who were lost and forlorn.

 

(Put a Little Love in Your heart VinChoir video)

 

(Mark’s lockdown ditty)

 

Now let’s honour the talent of Reginald Dwight,

With the first of his songs we’ll be singing tonight.

 

As we saw in the movie, his life took some knocks,

He was sure his career would end up on the rocks.

 

Some say Elton’s life is summed up in this song,

That this is his war cry, I’m sorry – they’re wrong!

 

It’s simply a VinChoir soprano’s confession,

Having quaffed an entire bottle of wine…in one session!

 

(I’m Still Standing VinChoir video)

 

So there we all were – each singing alone,

But seeing each other makes us feel like we’re one.

 

We sang and we laughed, had fun and some bants,

We all know that sometimes Mark sings in his pants!

 

We’ll keep learning songs, ‘til we all get together,

We know that our choir friends will be friends forever.

 

(Count on Me VinChoir video)

 

As lockdown continued, we painted and baked,

We went for long walks and our gardens looked great.

 

We walked and we cycled – kept score on our fit bit,

Aerobics on YouTube was weird, but we did it.

 

Worked out with Joe Wicks – our new PE teacher,

10,000 steps – we knew we could reach ya!

 

Musical instruments were pulled from the loft,

Recorders, pianos, guitars – dusted off.

 

So sit back and listen, while Bob sings a song,

Re-written, while stuck in his house for too long.

 

(Bob and Vivienne Hopkins video of Chains)

 

We were all asked to do something new and quite scary,

And understandably, many were wary.

 

We were asked for recordings from phones or an iPad,

Some were quite sensible, some were quite mad.

 

But record it we did, and put them together,

To be played at our concert and remembered forever.

 

We sang in our homes (to embarrass the kids),

We clapped the key workers and made dodgy vids.

 

We sang in our bedrooms, the loo or a cupboard,

Any place we could find, where we wouldn’t be bothered.

 

And if the rumours you heard are something to go by,

One even sang in his car in a layby.

 

(Your Song VinChoir video)

 

Fast forward nine months and they’re still on a high,

Then Mark and Jude said “now that Christmas is neigh…

 

…can we harness this talent and put on a how?

A real virtual concert, with real virtual snow!!”

 

“Let’s do it!” they said, so that’s how we got here.

Our first and our last virtual gig of the year!

 

(Winter Wonderland at Hays Galleria)

 

(Merry Christmas Everyone on the QEII)

 

As winter gets colder and Christmas draws near,

We think of warm places we might go to next year.

 

How about Spain? Or Greece? Somewhere hot!

Or maybe sailing the med on a yacht.

 

So we’ll sing you a song from the isles of Hawaii,

Where Christmas is spent on a beach by a palm tree.

 

(Mele Kalikimake at Hays Galleria)

 

But for now we are here, with days cold and bright,

So here is a warning to wrap up tight.

 

A song sung together, although really apart,

A fun Christmas number from Jude and Mark

 

(Baby It’s Cold Outside duet)

 

And now a recording from before this all started,

A tale of a man who was sad and downhearted.

 

If you’re a fan of The King, then this one’s for you,

But we’re hoping your Christmas is white and not blue.

 

(Blue Christmas at The Jubilee Community Centre with our East Grinstead and Oxted choirs)

 

We are still in our choir and here is the proof,

In our homes we’re still singing and raising the roof.

 

Outside, in the trees, there are Christmas lights glistening,

Inside we are singing like no one is listening.

 

We’ll carry on singing, as we think of next year,

When we’ll all sing together and spread Christmas cheer.

 

So please raise a glass and drink to the time,

When I’ll be in your home and you’ll be in mine.

 

(Santa Claus is Coming to Town VinChoir video)

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Have a wonderful Christmas everyone and here's to 2021,

Kirsty x