Like all choirs lockdown has left us unable to get together to sing and perform. So we moved online and this season’s concert was replaced by a virtual choir version of Coldplay’s Fix You. Keri tells us about her emotional journey of choir life in lock down and the positive impact doing this project had on her.
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Watch our incredible performance here!
Let’s start by stating the obvious. Lockdown sucks for everyone. It is horrible. The world is hurting, black lives matter, all over the world our politicians aren’t doing enough, and I haven’t hugged my friends in nearly 4 months. Not to mention feeling that at times I’d have given my left arm for a freshly poured pint. (Not the right as I need that one to lift the glass to my mouth.) Yet, one thing has simultaneously broken my heart and carried me through and that was my choir. The Pink Singers were my community salvation before corona became a thing and they’ve kept me sane while corona wreaks havoc on my psyche and my bank account. The group pulled together, and together we walked through these times. We’ve had ‘socials’, quiz nights, watched drag queens together, distance cooked pancakes. The altos talked me off the proverbial ledge one day when loneliness and uncertainty became too much. Hell, a section member drove 2 hours to wave at me and give me strawberries from a distance.
Now, although we’ve never stopped our rehearsals by moving them onto Zoom just like the rest of the world, they haven’t been quite as fulfilling as the live interaction rehearsal. They aren’t perfect but they have been something. Every week I can see some or most of my community striving to maintain not just our connection but our Art. Art with a capital ‘A.’ Now, this isn’t going to be a blog entry about the importance of Art or how it brings us together, or how it changes the world, or how it makes most days worth the trudge. It is a blog entry on the moment I heard my choir sing again. While we had moved our choir online, the one thing Zoom couldn’t give us was the possibility of singing together. Corona robbed us of making collective music. The collective heart strings. I will hate corona for this forever. I’d give up all those possible pints for that moment of sitting in a room and listening to when all our voices melt into one. After two months of being online, I began to lose my faith and my mojo. I started to feel disconnected from one of the things that had so much meaning to me. I began to just show up but I couldn’t feel the music.
When it was suggested that we contribute to a ‘virtual choir’ performance I went along with it. I had already slumped into a ‘what does it matter’ attitude; I couldn’t imagine it would achieve anything or fulfil me. But I went ahead and recorded my piece, singing by myself in my flat with no worries of being overheard (I live alone) but desperately needing someone to hear me. To hear the love of music and the love of my community and feel the joy coming through me. Tears ruined my first three takes. I sent the fourth with complete certainty that it was awful and unusable.
A week later the mix was released. I didn’t listen. I couldn’t. There was no way it could fill my heart, it wasn’t going to change anything. Or worse, it was going to be awful and ruin the beauty of the Pink Singers for me. This is what happened when I listened: the music started, Shauna starting the solo, then my and Ali’s voices join. I choked. As the song says, the tears came streaming down my face. I listened to 4 minutes and 41 seconds of my soul piecing back together. Listen, I’m an artist and that makes me a bit poetic when speaking about hearts, but damn it, each crescendo glued my broken little hurting heart back together. Each harmony cleansed the staleness from my spirit. I had been floundering in isolation and lack of direction and there it was – the ‘ooo’s’ and ‘ahhh’ of our collective voices melting into one again. All the pain, all the missing, all feeling of a hole in my heart filled and eased by the sound of our voices. By the sound of Us.
Art fixes us and The Pink Singers Fixed Me.
Keri Seymour, Alto