We may not be meeting up in person quite yet, but choral rehearsals over Zoom have proven to be more useful than one might have suspected only a few months ago, back in the days when the word Zoom automatically triggered visions of eating an ice lolly rather than having to dress from the navel upwards and popping your Sauvignon into a World’s Best Isolator mug for an hour. I was late to the Zoom party, thanks to my time off, but since being back online I have been doing my bit alongside some other gallant souls, and yesterday evening was running a rehearsal over the data stream for the upper voices of the Parly Choir.

I have to say that there are genuine positives to this approach. In terms of the obvious the commute is barely thirty seconds plus a little bit of set up and the usual preparation, but the ability – in fact, the necessity – to deal with one voice part at a time makes for a concentrated experience whose value is out of all proportion to its length. Yesterday, for example, we gave each voice part only forty five minutes in order to be able to fit them all in to two hours or so, but it felt at least as constructive as a two hour full rehearsal, and everybody seemed to go away feeling that the time had been well spent.

Eventually we will be back together, maybe next month, maybe next year, maybe in the next lifetime, and that social aspect is something that Zoom cannot replicate, to say nothing of the whole concert giving thing, but it will do for now. As long as the choir continues to improve through this method of rehearsal then that is what really matters.

Today I need to sit down and run through a few takes of The Book Of Hours now that I have the recorded sound set up nicely. I am having a nibble at this pretty much every time I pass the keyboard even if have yet to find a performance that I am willing to run with, but it will come. Experience in the studio has taught me that it is usually the take after the one you thought was the last that is the best.

I also need to have a listen to the Cantata Of Saint Dunstan for a meet-the-composer session this evening, via Zoom, of course, with the choir who would have given the first performance of the piece back in April had coughs and sneezes and spread diseases not intervened. Word is that there might even be a JEBO track played so perhaps I should have a listen to the first album as well while I have the hreadphones on, see how it has held up.