The sun shone brightly as more than half the members of Oswestry’s Cantiones met on Sunday afternoon to sing together once again. It was a wonderfully uplifting experience after nearly six months of silence during the pandemic’s worst months. Musical Director, Martin Bussey led the 90 minute rehearsal at a very safe distance and commented that the choir made a pretty decent sound! Of course the choir has been fortunate that Martin has provided weekly rehearsal videos to practice at home for which we were all very grateful but there is nothing better than singing as a group.
Following the results of research into aerosol transmission of Covid-19 as it relates to speaking, singing and playing woodwind and brass instruments new guidance was published by the Government allowing amateur choirs to meet and rehearse. Of course there were very strict rules to be adhered to and procedures to follow so Cantiones’ Chairman, Paul Myres created a comprehensive Risk Assessment for the choir before inviting everyone to join together to sing outside in the garden of one of the choir members. More than half the choir felt that sufficient safety measures had been put in place to attend and everyone who came was delighted to be singing again. Of course it was initially quite odd to be singing 2 metres from anyone else but it soon started to feel less difficult, especially with the encouragement of Martin.
Choirs’ inability to sing together has been challenging as the benefits of singing as a group are well documented. Singers mention the formation of social bonds, emotionally connecting many individuals simultaneously, social interaction and a sense of belonging, improvement of breathing, posture and muscle tension, improving self-esteem, and self-confidence as some of the reasons group singing is so enjoyable. In fact Cantiones members have said they enjoy meeting up with like-minded people, a sense of achievement after a good rehearsal, a sense of common purpose and a contribution to well-being by stress-busting and keeping the mind active. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed raising their voices on such a sunny day and looks forward to meeting again later this month.