Back to making music

Image courtesy of Adrian Pallant and Flickr

So much to write about and so little time! As activity slowly returns to normal there is a mix of new but yet familiar experiences and the creative efforts of the last few months to cover. For now, a few reflections of the ‘new but familiar’.

I sang (and rehearsed) in the open air a few weeks ago with a small choir put together for the occasion. Loved it. Singing again, an audience again. A little later I played some gentle jazz and more in a trio for a barbecue. Again, a welcome return to some kind of normality. But the larger scale experiences have been something else. I spent a few days on an immersive jazz retreat recently at the Jazz and Blues Retreat. Around 70 of us, all tested and clear, playing and singing together, learning and sharing. It was amazing – would have been amazing anyway but after 18 months of lockdown and restrictions it was very special. A bubble of music, of creativity and of normality. I’ll be returning – more info on https://www.jazzandbluesretreats.com/

Then, last week, my choir (https://brockhamchoral.org/ ) got together again, in person, to rehearse for our Messiah concert on 4th December. Lots of excitement about the piece, about the privilege of singing with a special orchestra (the Academy of Ancient Music), but especially about singing together again. Despite the spacing, the masks on entry, the wiping down of seats, it was a very special moment. May there be many more! Something the experience is captured in the poem below:

Messiah

separation over
no more Zoom
as more masked figures
enter the room

hands are sanitized
chairs are spaced
greetings meet smiling eyes
in a half concealed face

seated, the masks come off
scores are opened, pages found
throats are cleared, no one dares cough,
and then we make that magic sound –

a choir, survivors of frustration
singing now about salvation.

© CAEarnshaw 18/9/21

Tony Earnshaw

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