When we were unable to meet for proper rehearsals, from April 2020 until summer 2021 and along with friends from Birkenhead Choral Society, we had fifty-five (yes – 55!) sessions of ZoomAlong when we sang along with some wonderful professional choirs – with the music scrolling past on our screens. It wasn’t the same as sitting with our friends – but there again, most normal weeks your ordinary chorister doesn’t get to sing with King’s College Cambridge, The Sixteen, Monteverdi Choir and Tallis Scholars – all in one evening!
In those 55 sessions, we had a regular “attendance” of more than 70 singers. We sang more than 235 different pieces of music, and a total of 700 actual items over the weeks. Zadok the Priest notched up the most appearances over the months, along with The Rhythm of Life and Fauré’s Cantique de Jean Racine. We got through the whole of Messiah twice, as well as Elijah, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Bach’s Magnificat, Vivaldi’s Gloria, part of the Requiems by Verdi, Mozart, Fauré and Duruflé – and a single word from Belshazzar’s Feast! And much more.
It was an amazing way to keep singers “together” singing, and probably the number of singers who have returned to real rehearsals bears witness to that. But – says David Holroyd – please, never again.