After what has seemed a long (but very necessary) break from our familiar busy practice and concert schedule, midway through July the Brisbane Chorale began rehearsing again in a completely new way in order to comply with government directives concerning health and safety post the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This entailed a small core group of singers attending our rehearsal venue with Emily and our accompanist Justine, and practising the Brahms German Requiem while the rest of us watched along and joined in from our homes using the Zoom platform.
Emily received the following message from one of our members after that first rehearsal and we think you’ll agree it is a very powerful and heartfelt statement about what singing in a choir means to us.
From a long time member of Brisbane Chorale…
“I really loved last week’s Zoom rehearsal and being back singing with my beloved Chorale, even though I couldn’t be with everyone or be surrounded by that glorious combination of voices that seems to reach into my heart and bring waves of joy and peace. I have missed Chorale immensely. These last few years have seemed to be the best ever of my Chorale experience, and it has felt like I’ve lost a best friend or life raft. In December last year when I thought about a big birthday approaching in 2020, all I wanted (besides world peace, elimination of poverty and disease, a halt to global warming, and all those other big picture wishes) was to be a singer in the Brisbane Chorale on my birthday.
We had some great rehearsals in the new year, but then came the virus and that was the end of rehearsals and performances. As time went on after that I realised more than ever that rehearsals were a magic erasure of worries, and were a total absorption in being in the present. I’d go home after a rehearsal with more energy than I came with, and I’d find myself unable to sleep for a while because of the ‘high’. That was a small price to pay for such a joyful experience. So I was certainly mourning the loss of my weekly ‘highs’.
These last few months have certainly been a challenge for me mentally and even knowing how fortunate I am to live in Queensland, to be relatively healthy, to own my house, and to not have to worry about food or losing a job or business, I’ve still found it hard to be optimistic and count my blessings. But after last week’s Wednesday rehearsal, on Thursday I found myself singing out loud as I pottered around the house and generally feeling happier and less gloomy. It seemed to be a wake-up call for me to focus more on being grateful for the joys in my life, and to not be overwhelmed with fear for the future. I need to do more singing at home with my collection of choral music, and bring back that joyous activity that has been the most consistent pleasure in my life for decades.”