This Too Shall Pass

While the choir cannot meet, this temporary page is somewhere to find hopeful, encouraging and uplifting stuff for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please send me (martinpen@btinternet.com) anything that you think will help and sustain singers through the weeks ahead (especially if it involves singing!) so that we can return later in the year still able to use our voices!

The sections of this page are (just scroll down):

  • Song of the Day
  • Songs and singing
  • Managing a virtual singalong
  • Online singing events
  • Campaigns for change
  • Dr Rupert Read: the truth about the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Official NHS COVID-19 advice
  • Red Leicester WhatsApp group

Song of the Day

Let me know what songs you would like to see here and I will do my best to source and feature them. If you want to see which songs have featured since SotD started, then visit the Song of the Day archive.

Today is World Environment Day and our featured song has a credible claim to be the first explicitly environmental song to achieve huge popular acclaim. Big Yellow Taxi was written by Joni Mitchell in 1970 after a trip to Hawaii when she was struck by the contrast between the beautiful mountains in the distance and the car park outside her hotel. Since then the song has been recorded by many artists. The words are both humorous and trenchant and, sadly, fifty years later we still sing this song to the backdrop of the global warming crisis.

Songs and singing

I listened to Alun Parry’s Lockdown Session one Sunday afternoon recently and really enjoyed it – I can thoroughly recommend dropping in if you can! I bought his subsequent download of songs that I thought I’d share with you below. Great stuff from Alun as ever!

Medley: Ghosts of Cable Street/All You Fascists Bound To Lose
You Are My Addiction
Ulysses
Dig, Boys, Dig
Midnight Special
Count Me As The Enemy
Whatever Your Struggle, Sister

The Traditional Arts Team in Birmingham run monthly political song sessions known as Sing Political, and publish booklets of songs. During the lockdown their sessions have gone online and they have published a new Political Songster, containing many new and old songs pertinent to what is happening now, which can be downloaded below:

Another very topical song from Penny Stone – ‘a wee simplified barbershop style We Love The NHS song that you might enjoy singing along or learning.’ Below you will find the full version, a part learning version and scores and sound files. This could be a Massed Sing song when all this is over! Great hats, Penny!

Score, parts and sound files for We Love the NHS can be found here.

Penny Stone again, this time teaching the tune and various words to Bella Ciao ‘in solidarity with our Italian Sisters and Brothers’. Bella Ciao is rapidly becoming a favourite rallying song in the current circumstances (see invitation from Stephen Taberner below). Penny also points out her gallery of awesome women musicians – and her lovely guitar is also featured!

More from Katy Rose Bennett, this time a learning video for Stand By Me, the great Ben E. King standard.

An uplifting song, Somos El Barco, from Penny Stone of Protest In Harmony: ‘This is the first of some singalong radical songs I’m putting up for Protest in Harmony – feel free to share with your groups – I teach the chorus first, then do a full sing through. Hope it helps a little.’

Two learning videos for a powerful and simple song, Fire In My Heart (Emily Roblyn) and a more familiar one, Lean On Me (Bill Withers) as taught by Katy Rose Bennett.

German people in Bamberg singing Bella Ciao from their balconies in solidarity with Italians in lockdown due to COVID-19.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2020/mar/21/germans-sing-from-rooftops-coronavirus-italy-video

Managing a virtual singalong

Ed Blunt, the MD of Camden Voices, explains below how he managed a virtual performance by his choir with their performance of True Colours following.

Online singing events

The Georgian singing teacher and choir leader Nino Naneishvili is leading a series of online Georgian singing workshops on Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 12 noon ($10 for two hours). Please contact Nino (ninonaneishvili@gmail.com) for further details of how to register.

Stephen Taberner from the Spooky Men’s Chorale is running virtual Massive Singlets on various dates with up to 500 singers worldwide (using Zoom technology). You can sign up for these on his website here.

The Love2Sing choir from west London is running The Vchoir at 7.30 pm every Friday evening. Registration on a FCFS basis is from 10 am every Friday. Click here for more details.

Simon Lubkowski, who leads Knighton Community Choir and sings with the Simpletones, is getting together The Collective Virtual Choir to sing various songs (in April they sang The White Cliffs of Dover). You need to sign up which you can do by clicking here.

The Sofa Singers is a free, weekly online singing event set up by vocal leader James Sills that aims ‘to bring people together from around the world to spark joy and human connection.’ Click here to sign up and join others around the world in singing!

Choir Community has launched Distant-Sing to bring singers together for an online singing experience. This ‘is what many of us rely on for our sanity and some for our actual livelihoods.’ Click here for more information and to sign up.

Campaigns for change

Press for change now: whilst some of the campaigns below focus on measures that will help us through the current health crisis, others will have a more lasting impact. We must not revert to ‘business as usual’ when all this is over!

Protect Our NHS (38 Degrees)

Keep Our NHS Public (NHS staff pressure group)

6 Demands from NHS Staff to Help Us Tackle Coronavirus (Change.org)

Save Labour’s Peace Minister (Labour CND)

Protect People and Invest in Our Future (Greenpeace)

End 5-week wait for Universal Credit during coronavirus (38 Degrees)

Demand the DHSC publishes figures for deaths in care (Alzheimer’s Society)

Dr Rupert Read: the truth about the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic

Official NHS COVID-19 advice

https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19

Red Leicester WhatsApp Group

If you want to join the Red Leicester WhatsApp group to share chat, messages, photos and other uplifting stuff, then let Jane (janemb@live.co.uk) know and she will add you to the group. Please note that important messages with information relevant to all choir members should be sent via the Red Leicester email group.