DCS Newsletter: 31st March 2020

Didcot Choral Society

Hello everyone – what a week it’s been, and one that you don’t see many of in a lifetime.
Angela’s son Oliver shared this quote with me, which seems very apt:
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin – “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”
So how was your ‘decade’? Please do email me with any news and other things that I can share to keep us all connected.

Returning your music

As you might expect, the music library is now closed and so we await instructions about what to do with the music. If you still have your Britten, please don’t worry – just hold onto it for now and put it somewhere safe and memorable for when we meet again.

Keep hold of the rest of the music too, as we will try to perform it when we can, whether in the summer or autumn.

5 a Day Quiz from Malcolm Card:

Here’s a few quiz questions to get us started on the subject of PILGRIMS – answers next week:

Theme: Pilgrims

  1.  Where did Chaucer’s Pilgrims assemble for their journey?
  2.  Where in Norfolk do pilgrimages still take place to a Marian Shrine?
  3.  An ancient pilgrimage route from southern France into Spain ends at whose shrine?
  4.  What is the name of the black cube which is the focal point of the Hajj?
  5.  Whose Pilgrimage went through to Vanity Fair?

Fundraising

Please remember that if you are shopping online you can still raise money for the choir by using this link https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/didcotchoralsociety/?test=t2

My news from this week is that we had a very lovely email from the Welsh Camarata, from whom we had hired some of the music for this term. The librarian offered her commiserations at our cancelled concert and offered us a partial refund of the music hire! It was a delightful offer and we got chatting. It turns out that she is a medical researcher and epidemiologist, so it was an interesting conversation. I immediately invited them for a joint concert, so a Welsh tour could be on the cards in the new year. They are an early music group, so that will please several of our members no doubt.  http://www.welshcamerata.org/

Here’s an update from Helen:

My first week of Self Isolation: Helen Cliff

What a strange week this has been!  I had to go into school on Monday and Friday but have now been told that I am not go in anymore unless there is an urgent need of staff to support the handful of children we have coming into school. We are open to children of key workers and vulnerable children.  It was strange having such a quiet school.  At one point, when all the children and other staff were enjoying the sunshine outside, I was alone in the school building very eery!  I took the opportunity on Friday to tidy up the stationery cupboard, a job that we never have time for.  The children in school have been occupied with #PEwithJoe, cooking, arts & crafts and lots of outdoor activities (including Forest School), so very much has the feel of a holiday camp.  My two boys have really impressed me this week, getting on with their work that has been set by their schools and keeping their arguing/fighting to a minimum.  They seem to be appreciating the smaller things of life more.  Hearing Oliver tell me that “dinner smells good mum” and many more “thank yous” and cuddles than I’m used to is making this situation much more bearable.  Following Alison’s example, I have signed up to be an NHS volunteer, and waiting to get the call….

I plan to use this time as wisely as possible – I have started piano lessons for both of my boys and will try to learn the ukulele with Isaac.  My garden requires a lot of work (the main cultivation seems to be weeds) so that will keep me very occupied. 

We have also explored the fields opposite (soon to be a housing development) which took us along-side Hadden Hill Golf Club and over to Long Wittenham.  We have meant to do this walk for so long, but always end out going in the car to get to a spot to walk.

This Sunday it was my retired neighbour’s birthday.  She is very family orientated and always celebrates occasions with her family.  My other neighbour and I decided to throw her a “2 metre apart” social distancing party on our driveway.  We had balloons, a Peppa Pig birthday banner, cake (although the wind didn’t allow the candle to be lit for long) and lots of fizz, whilst our children played football and rode their bikes outside their own houses. Certainly a birthday she won’t forget in a hurry!

We are lucky that this is happening in a time when there is so much technology around – video calls, online work setting from the schools and YouTube – who would have thought I would make sure I was up and ready to start the day with a #PEwithJoe workout or start drawing along to #drawingwithRob (twice a week Rob gives a little tutorial for some of his characters) – so far we’ve drawn a dinosaur, sausage dog and a monster.  We have also subscribed to Disney+ which will keep all four of us occupied in the house with plenty of films and TV series.  I have attended virtual parties, coffee meet ups, and of course our own virtual concert.

What will the next week of isolation bring me?  Wishing you all good health and look forward to a time when we can all be together again.  Love from Helen xx

DCS news

Thank you to everyone who joined in with the Virtual Concert via YouTube on Saturday.

Alison Brockliss joined us early in the day – concerts on demand is a possible benefit to this situation we find ourselves in.  Jane May said: ‘Thank you so much for doing this to keep our spirits up.  We were even able to toast our next door neighbour, who usually comes to our DCS concerts, through the window in the “interval”.’ And Julian Gallop said “Excellent concert.   I have to admit the performers were good!” Let us know if you joined in, and how was the experience for you?    

Virtual choir

I know that many of you have been enjoying singing with Gareth Malone. How has this experience been for you? A few of us tried to sing together on Saturday using Zoom but this was certainly not a straightforward matter and there were lots of technical challenges. We will continue to look into it and see what is possible – watch this space.

What are we reading?

This week I have, like many of you I guess, been reading the long-awaited novel by Hilary Mantel, The Mirror and the Light. Having loved the previous novels in the sequence, and the television adaptations of Wolf Hall, it’s a delight to be back with these characters. Mantel is a master of characterization and historical detail.

Is anyone else reading this novel? What do you think of it?

Listening suggestions:

This week I have been listening to some recordings of the music we so NEARLY performed this weekend. The one piece I was most sorry to have not performed was O Radiant Dawn, which I think is a beautiful and powerful piece. I have been listening to other pieces in the Strathclyde Motets, including this one:

James MacMillan also wrote a very interesting piece based on the story of the Scottish witch Isobel Gowdie The Confession of Isobel Gowdie. Worth a listen!

In November 2018 we performed a wonderful joint concert with The Abbey Brass Band to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War. I have been thinking this week of all the street parties and celebrations that will take place when this crisis is finally over, and how much we will all enjoy singing together on those occasions.

Here we are festooned with bunting.

Birthdays and Celebrations this week:

Happy Birthday to:
Alice Roberts
Helen Bull

If you have a birthday or celebration you would like us to share to the choir, just let us know!

And finally this apt cartoon from Eva: