No Alleluias: A Requiem for 2020

Just Festival 2021 – Edinburgh

Kari has kindly let me approach you, the ICU choir, to see if any of you would like to be involved in this project.  We have currently two NHS choirs from Scotland participating so the idea of having some of you from across the UK would just be a lovely inclusion for the project.  Also, as you heard from my chat on Wednesday, would be delighted if some of the men would consider it!

This new requiem, commissioned by the Just Festival (  has been composed by Anthony Hammond with text adapted by Robert Rae from ‘No Alleluias’ – an article by Rev Dr Karen Georgia Thomson. It describes her experience of an Easter Sunday last year, having lost her father to COVID and been infected with the virus herself.  As a Reverend, she watched her community suffer and was lost as to how to share the joy that should be core to Easter celebrations. 

The requiem has been written for a 16 strong live choir, soprano soloist, virtual chorus, and organ. The final event will be livestreamed online through the Just Festival Platform and YouTube Channel.  

We are looking for singers to form the Just Festival Virtual Chorus who will appear on a screen with pre-recorded audio and visual.  The whole piece is approximately 40 mins long, but the contribution required from the Just Festival Virtual Chorus will take the form of four short SATB sections (in Latin) of about 60 to 90 seconds each (around 18-26 bars of music per section). These recordings will be played back as part of the live performance.

Due to the inspiration of this piece, we are drawing the Just Festival Virtual Chorus from NHS workers and the video recordings sent in for this project should show (were possible) the singers in their work clothes – a physical representation of front-line workers.

Along with the music score and audio tracks of separate vocal parts with a rehearsal piano for support, there will also be tutorial videos from Anthony covering the four sections. We are also intending to undertake a zoom session where Anthony will take participants through the parts, and this will be recorded and available for those who can’t make it.

Those wishing to participate the Just Festival Virtual Chorus will receive all information and material the week beginning 19th July, and from that point there will be a 2-week window to send back the recordings and videos.  The live, streamed performance will take place on the evening of Saturday 28th August, and all involved will be sent a link to view the event.

If you would like to be involved, you can email me by 16th July at  


Debra Salem