The Bach Choir Lockdown Blog

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We’re delighted to share with you our new Blog, written by Georgina Donatantonio.

12 October 2020


Life-under-lockdown has savagely pulled the stage from under the full-time self-employed musician.  It has hurled huge problems at musicians’ livelihoods, their incomes, upcoming tours, as well as swiftly turning once-thriving music venues into sparse and desolate places.

Still, despite this, and albeit in a different way, music has flourished. Different traditions, time-zones and ways of living have come together, producing distinct and diverse creations.

No, music cannot continue like this. But, music has always been an art of creativity, communication, and collaboration; being locked away has not put a stop to this. So, what has lockdown meant for The Bach Choir?

St Matthew Passion

Perhaps the most loved of the Choir’s yearly performances is Bach’s St Matthew Passion.  Year-after-year, it fills out Royal Festival Hall, and the incredible story of the Passion of Christ is movingly sung out through chorus, recitative, and aria.

However, this year saw Covid throw a spanner in the works.  But oh no, we weren’t going to give up the fight that easily. On Good Friday, 150 members took to their seats and gave a mesmerising virtual performance. In an odd way, the circumstances made it all that more moving.

A true Corona Contingency Plan in action.

Choral Workshops

Choral Workshops are choral training days, open to anyone who wants to raise the rafters.  This was one thing that became better because of Covid. Suddenly, it wasn’t limited to those within easy access to central London.  Around 500 people Zoom’d in to sing Fauré’s Requiem, from as far afield as San Francisco, Austria, and Brazil.  As people’s comments show, it provided much-needed joy and relief.

Starting the New Season in Style

A new season and no vaccine.  Nevertheless, in true Bach Choir fashion, the show must go on.  A commission from Gabriel Jackson on the theme of Darkness to Light needed words. Members harbouring their inner poet were asked to write 3-4 lines, and the winning piece would be set to Jackson’s music.   Laura-Jane Foley’s topical poem The Promise of Dawn was chosen.  Wait for the exciting premiere of this!

There may be challenges ahead, but the strength, commitment and enthusiasm shown by The Bach Choir’s members and leaders during this difficult period, will ensure it not only continues, but thrives.