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July 2020 - A message from the Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir to our supporters and friends

In a way much has happened since my previous message on 22 May 2020, then again, one could argue, very little has changed. We are still in lockdown, regular rehearsals cancelled and no possibility of live performance concerts on the horizon yet.

The YPC has however been hard at work throughout this period using our extensive ‘Virtual Rehearsals’. These have been exclusive to singing members of the choir and have ensured through vocal exercise and repertoire suggestions, we have been able to keep our voices in good health, ready for when we can return to singing together. These sessions have also been great fun with quizzes, anecdotes and generally the sharing of interesting and amusing ‘lockdown’ antics. All in all, these have kept our spirits raised and maintained the feeling of ‘togetherness’ and ‘esprit de corps’ which we so value.

These Virtual Rehearsals have just come to an end as we begin what would be our usual ‘summer break’ although all the virtual resources remain available for members during that time so we can maintain individual musical discipline at our own pace.

Our intention remains (in that the diary still says so) to return to rehearsals on Tuesday 8th September… but (a very big BUT) at this stage we cannot yet say what will be happening between September and the end of the year.

The lack of any form of guidance or movement on concerts/theatres/ live performances/large venues etc. makes any form of even tentative planning impossible. As a choir of 100, it’s not just about performance, it is also about rehearsals and how and where they can be arranged for a group of our size.

There is no shortage of encouraging words about how important our cultural life is, but despite approaches to the Government and the production of evidence to the contrary from high profile professional and amateur musicians, there still seems a ‘mistrust’ of singing and the playing of some musical instruments. The concern seems to be whether singing and playing leads to the wider exhalation of droplets which might possibly spread the virus, even if the person singing/playing is asymptomatic themselves. Until this is overcome in the minds of government and health experts, there seems small chance of us moving forward very far.

All this, quite rightly, focusses on safety and on people feeling safe to ‘return’ to a concert-going environment. As a friend and supporter of the YPC, I want you to know that your safety and that of choir members and all performing musicians will be our priority when a return to concert performances becomes possible. I think we all already realise that there will have to be significant changes to what we have known, but hopefully, through adhering to sensible guidance and with cooperation all round, the concert-going experience will in no way be diminished once we are able to proceed.

So, there is much to occupy us over the next weeks… Please keep an eye on this website for future news and developments. Once again, thank you for your valued support and we look forward to seeing you again soon, until then, please stay safe.


Derek Howell Chairman of the YPC

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