Alderney choir makes emotional rehearsal return after lockdown

LOTS of hugging and laughing was involved as the Alderney Voices Community Choir met this week for its first practice in nearly three months due to the pandemic.

The Alderney Voices Community Choir were in a more restrained mood when David Nash took this picture, but there were emotional scenes when members met for the first time this year after the lifting of lockdown restrictions.
The Alderney Voices Community Choir were in a more restrained mood when David Nash took this picture, but there were emotional scenes when members met for the first time this year after the lifting of lockdown restrictions.

While Guernsey is due to move to stage three on Monday, Alderney moved to that stage, which has no restrictions other than for travel, on 9 March.

Alderney Voices secretary and choir member Louise Hayward said the atmosphere in the hall on its first day back this year was ‘electric’.

‘We missed our singing so much and when everyone arrived it was all very emotional, so there was a lot of hugging and laughing as we hadn’t seen each other in a group since our Christmas concert,’ she said.

‘There are 40 members in our choir and we’re all good friends so you can imagine the noise as everyone started chattering together.’

Alderney Voices is a mixed community choir and performs two or three concerts a year in Alderney and also takes part in the Guernsey Eisteddfod.

Ms Hayward said everyone was excited as they have been invited to perform a programme of their favourite songs for an evening of music with John Morris, a popular Guernsey pianist, on 1 May in the island’s St Anne’s Church.

‘Last night’s practice was our first chance to start work on our programme, which is a mixture of styles from classic to popular,’ she said. ‘To be able to sing together after so long, with no restrictions, proved to be an absolutely incredible experience – our voices filled the church with joy, there’s no other way to describe it.’

Two new members also joined.

‘Maria Collier, our accompanist, took the practice because sadly Marilyn Pugh, our music director, can’t come over from Guernsey until after Easter,’ she added.

‘Maria was surprised at how well we remembered the songs and thought we did really well, which was a bit of a shock because we hadn’t sung together for nearly three months.’

Performing under Mrs Pugh’s baton since 2013, practice sessions usually take place every Monday evening for two hours, but for this first post-lockdown first practice they stayed for an hour. It is due to increase to the usual two hours when Mrs Pugh returns.

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