The 2022 season offers: January 12 – Continuum Baroque Quartet; February 9 – The Ensemble Reza String Sextet; March 9 – Chris Beaumont, xylophone with Derek Garden (piano); April 13 – University of Chichester Student Showcase Concert; May 11 – Margaret Fingerhut (piano) and Bradley Creswick (violin) in memory of Chris Coote, former CMS treasurer; June 9 – Summer Buffet Concert – Julia Bishop (violin); September 14 – Paul Guinery (piano) – English Light Music; October 12 – Rosamunde Trio; November 9 – Chichester University Chamber Orchestra; and December 14 – CMS Bursary Holders Concert.
Club chairman Chris Hough said: “It is so lovely to see live music again. There just is not any substitute. You can listen on the best HiFi. But you just miss the real spark of the music, the real sense of live performance, the fact that it’s happening now. There is a lot more that is going on that you are not aware of if you are just listening on a HiFi, things that you have to be there to actually see and appreciate. You can get great sound at home, but it just cannot be the same. But it is also that great shared experience with other people in the same room at the same time and also the great relationship that the whole thing creates between the audience and the artist. It is something that is happening in the room and that you are all sharing together, and that’s what makes it so special – whether you are listening to Schumann or you are lucky enough to be listening to Bruce Springsteen! There is just something about being together that creates such a thrill.
“Obviously some people are quite keen to come back and enjoy that experience together again but other people are quite wary and a bit more concerned about venturing out which is why we are continuing to do live streams.
“We were not able to do them for the first one or two concerts after coming back but we did at the last one and we had as many people watching the live stream as we accommodated at the actual concert. I think that the pandemic will change habits and with the availability of streaming music much more widely around and easier from a technical point of view, you really don’t need much equipment. I do think it’s relatively straight forward and simple to offer live streams and we are looking at continuing to do so. The university will continue to do our live streams until the end of the year and they are not charging us for that. We are discussing whether we will continue to do that next year (2022) when we would have to make a contribution.
“We started live concerts in June. June 9 was the first concert we did as a live concert.
“All the concerts from January to June were all cancelled and some are rescheduled. We are hoping still that some of them will be happening. But we started back on June 9 and then we had our summer break which we usually have in July and August and then in September we started back and then October and so on.
“There is a determination to try to get back to some form of things as usual but we are aware though that the pandemic has not gone away. It will be a fact of life for quite a while to come. The real test is whether we are sure enough of our events to be able to continue with all the right levels of precautions. I think that that remains to be seen but everyone is certainly very hopeful. We know who everybody is. We are taking names and addresses. I don’t think the days of people just turning up and buying a ticket without us having an address will be coming back anytime soon. For the moment all tickets must be bought in advance.”
The current concerts are the society’s first proper run of concerts since changing their name from the Funtington Music Group to Chichester Music Society – a change of name agreed just before the pandemic. The pandemic then prevented them from properly launching the new name.
“But I think the new name was the right thing to have done. We say it is making absolute sense. We have had a number of people that have started coming along to us because they have discovered us as the Chichester Music Society. Very few members were opposed to it. The vast majority, I would say 99 per cent, thought it was a great idea to make the change and to have the new identity. Once you have got a new brand you can go out and say ‘Hey have you heard about us?’ Well, that has been difficult because of the pandemic but we have now got the new name.”
As for membership, it is time to build things back up: “Our numbers have dwindled a little bit and so we are having a focus on getting people back.”
The subscription for 2022 is £85 to include nine meetings. Contact membership secretary Elizabeth Stanley on 01243 378900 or 07973 410407.