When I approached Alison Pittard to create a free virtual choir for NHS Critical Care workers this Christmas I had no idea the power it would have. Within 48 hours we had signed up 100 singers – so we extended the zoom capacity and currently have 140 registered to sing. The hype before we even started was immense! Lots of chatter and something for everyone to focus on that wasn’t related to Covid.
Running a virtual choir is an odd thing given that I don’t have the capabilities to hear anyone sing. At all. What I’m always surprised at is the amount of energy silent people can give off! We started with a selection of songs which Alison and I had discussed – a couple of Christmassy ones (they’re ready for this week) and lots about togetherness and family. ICU need this feeling of cohesion and solidarity especially at the moment. We also had a song re-created lyrically for us by Jackie Shears (resident wordsmith with my West Bridgford Liberty Singers and all round fabulous friend) and I created a vocal arrangement.
I love arranging songs. I love hearing harmony where there wasn’t any and I love teaching this (by ear) to singers. The ICU Liberty Singers voted this their favourite song of the evening which was brilliant for us.
But what really, really worked for us as a newly formed virtual choir, was the energy. The commitment. The fun. The laughing and the feeling that just for that short hour, we could nearly forget what brought us all here and just have a good time. Within the first half hour of finishing, there were 70+ WhatsApp messages of thanks, laughter and joy. Twitter was awash with positivity and inclusivity. The plan to create something really special had worked and I was delighted to see a video of some of the staff singing at work in their break -how wonderful!
So, I’m really looking forward to doing it all again with them tomorrow evening and seeing where our fabulous project could lead. Paired up with Jackie and Alison I feel that anything is possible – you’ll have to watch this space.