So, after a sabbatical which was originally intended to last for six months but which then extended to twenty, and which was both more and less productive than I had expected, I am back to what might be termed “normal” work. This was always intended to be the beginning of the next part of my life, and although it does not feel as if much has changed professionally I am hoping that the small tweaks I made towards the end of 2019 will make things easier.

I got back home late on Friday after a few weeks away, stomping around the Lake District, and kept writing on a couple of different projects while I was there. The orchestration continued on the symphony – slowly, if I am honest – while my main focus was a new cantata for the Parliament Choir, which is coming along in fits and starts.

Tonight I actually rehearse in person with the Parly Choir for the first time since December 2020, and even that was but a single occasion that year, so we have not met together properly since 2019. As I left Smith Square that evening I had several plans for what the next months would bring but, in the end, life pulled a few surprises out of the hat, as we all know.

We will be a smaller and more distanced choir tonight, and I am interested to find out how we sound after so much time away, but I feel confident that our regular meetings over Zoom will have kept things ticking over. Doubtless it will take us a few minutes to get back into the swing of things, but I suspect that we shall go our separate ways at the end of tonight’s rehearsal with a spring in our steps.

This feels undoubtedly like a step in the right direction, and not just in terms of choirs being able to sing again after that ridiculous period of being limited to groups of six while large gatherings continued elsewhere under the moniker of “test events”, all of which looked suspiciously like prestigious sporting events which offered free tickets to those in influential positions. It is also a step in a new direction for me, and although I really have only the faintest idea where it might lead I nevertheless feel quite confident about the whole thing.