DCS Newsletter: Tuesday 24th March

Didcot Choral Society

Hello everyone, this is something I never thought I would have to write, but welcome to the first newsletter of our Coronavirus closure. For the period that we are unable to meet, we hope to have a weekly communication for members by email, not only to let you know what’s going on but also to keep us all in touch with each other in this period.

In our first edition I will say a few things about our current thoughts and plans. As well as asking you for your contributions. Please do email me with any news and other things that I can share (see below).

DCS News

Since taking the difficult decision to cancel the concert and next term’s rehearsals (incredibly enough, just over a week ago) so very much has happened. Thank you very much to those who were able to bring their music back on Tuesday. If you still have your music, then hold onto it for now and we will be collecting it when the moment is right.

We have cancelled next term’s music too but at the moment we have preliminary plans to hold a light and probably low-key Christmas Concert in St Matthew’s in December. We are already thinking of what we might sing at that time. If anyone uses the time in the next few weeks to think of any repertoire they would like to sing or even write anything suitable for us to sing, that would be most welcome too.

In terms of finding a new MD, that is of course on hold too, until the time is right. We are very lucky to have Julian to support us and also so many talented and knowledgeable people within our choir that we can be self-sufficient until that time.

In terms of our money situation, again this is something would like to reassure you that we are planning very carefully. Jordan’s departure and the fact that we are no longer renting St Peter’s after next week means our outgoings will be reduced to the minimum. We do still want to retain Julian obviously and pay him for the wonderful way he stepped in. If you paid your subs until the end of the year, we are sorry that your enjoyment of the choir has been cut short in such an unforeseen way. If you would like a refund or credit in lieu of the summer term, please do get in touch with our treasurer Gill.

Keeping in touch

Over the next few months, it will be hugely important to keep communication open and focus on the things that we have in common and can continue to enjoy.

With that in mind, I would like to encourage us all to communicate freely with each other! Anything you send to me, I can add into the newsletter.

In particular, have a think about the following possible ideas:

Book Club

Anyone care to share their thoughts about books then please share them with us:

Educated by Tara Westover – a very difficult read at times but overall a very hopeful book about a very intelligent girl growing up in incredibly difficult circumstances and how she survives and eventually escapes:

‘Tara Westover grew up preparing for the End of Days, watching for the sun to darken, for the moon to drip as if with blood. She spent her summers bottling peaches and her winters rotating emergency supplies, hoping that when the World of Men failed, her family would continue on, unaffected.

She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in doctors or hospitals. According to the state and federal government, she didn’t exist.

As she grew older, her father became more radical, and her brother, more violent. At sixteen Tara decided to educate herself.

Her struggle for knowledge would take her far from her Idaho mountains, over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d travelled too far. If there was still a way home.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes with the severing of the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, from her singular experience Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.’

Listening Suggestions

This could be either things we are listening to right now or old favourites. Personally I have been listening to some Palestrina to calm myself and to remind me of better times. Spotify Playlist

Send yours in!

What are we all up to – photos and stories, selfies if you manage a dog walk, photos of your knitting or sewing projects, how lovely your garden is looking. We want to keep up to date. Obviously it will be good to hear too if you are in need of any help or support. We can also start a Whatsapp group if anyone wants to chat more informally or to receive a phone call. Human contact will be very important.

An update from me – School closed for most students on Friday and it was weird and emotional to say goodbye to Year 11 and Year 13 who now won’t be back to take their exams. How we might deal with setting those grades is another matter! Now I have to try and find work for the students to complete. I am due in on Monday to cover the rota for the key workers’ children, and we will have to see how the next few weeks pans out.

My first plan is to start reading some of those books piled high on my shelves.. in the garden ideally with a little Bach playing in the background.

Send your stories!

DCS Memories: We could also share our memories of tours and concerts, as well as other memories from happier times. Here we are looking festive at the 2018 carols. It’s good to think about the money we have raised for charities over the years.

Anything else?

Please do send me anything else that you think the choir might like to see / read. Photos in particular would be great to share.

Virtual choir

Finally, many of you have suggested to me the idea of a virtual choir. I think this is a splendid idea and I will look into its feasibility for us, as well as signing up to the Gareth Malone one myself.

Finally, my main message today is to say that Didcot Choral Society will continue to exist and thrive to the best of our ability in all our hearts and thoughts until we can sing together again, in the not-too-distant future. I predict a boom in ALL social activities and in choral singing in particular. And when that happens, we will be ready and waiting.

All my love, Alison