Brighton Festival Chorus recruiting and "back in the game"

Brighton Festival Chorus are rehearsing, they are recruiting and they are “delighted to be back in the game”, says music director James Morgan.

James Morgan
James Morgan

They are offering the chance to join a guest rehearsal on Monday, July 5 at All Saints Church, Hove in a socially-distanced Covid-secure environment – a chance to meet some of the current chorus members, enjoy an evening’s rehearsal and see if you would be interested in joining.

“You can even do the chorus’s straightforward audition on the same night if you wish.

“Go to BFC.ORG.UK/JOIN to sign up and we’ll reserve a place and some music for you,” James said.

“We’ll look forward to meeting you!”

Alternatively you can get to know the chorus at a come and sing day on July 24, again at All Saints Church, Hove.

No need to book. Just turn up at 2pm.

“We have been reliably informed by our Prime Minister that all will be well and that we will be able to do this.

“People can just come along. It will be very informal. We are going to do various singing exercises and we will get to sing some very famous pieces of music – and you will get the thrill of singing with 120 people. It will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up!

“And our youth choir will be there as well.”

James added: “It is just fantastic to get going again after such a long period of time when everything has been on Zoom

“It is great to be back in the game.

“There has been a lot of controversy around choirs and rehearsals. Some guidelines came out in May which were very wrong-headed.

“It was decided that amateur choirs could only sing in groups of six indoors and, I think, 30 outside which contravenes all the government research last year. There was absolutely no logic to it, but after a lot of argument and people getting very cross, the DCMS clarified the issue and said that choirs that are rehearsing for commercial performance are allowed to continue to rehearse.

“We have gone back to a situation where we don’t have groups at all.

“People have to come in singly. There are no bubbles. And we have very strict social distancing. Everyone has to wear a mask or vizor when singing.

“We are lucky that we have a huge church at Hove, but it has been a real undertaking. Risk assessments have been done.

“There is sanitisation on the way in and out. A lot of work has gone into it. We have up to 100 singers under health and safety.

“There is no social meeting at all. They are not allowed to speak to each other. It has proven to be safe.

“We were doing it for a few months before Christmas and we are doing it again now, but let’s hope that after July 19, it will all become like a bad dream that we have all had!”

As for where things stand now: “We are battered but optimistic. It has been very, very difficult. Singing with a vizor a long way apart from each other is very tough, and there have been long periods of Zoom which is even tougher.

“But we are fighting fit and we have got some fantastic work lined up. Next year we are hoping to do a choral immersion day. We will be back at the Brighton Festival next year and we have got concerts at the Royal Albert Hall coming up.”

Numbers-wise, the chorus is doing fine: “Our numbers are surprisingly good considering the pandemic and everything that has been going on, but we are now looking to recruit, particularly for men.

“We are looking for low rich voices.

“Getting men is always trickier than getting women. It is a strange phenomenon, maybe because of boys giving up singing earlier than girls.”