Chorus rehearsals came to an abrupt halt on 14 March 2020, when Spain went into lockdown. Our planned trip to compete in Belgium had to be cancelled as every member complied with the new ruling of ‘quedate en casa”. Disappointed, but undaunted, the chorus management team and musical director set about keeping the chorus engaged during what was to be 15 weeks of isolation.
“I had just taken over as Musical Director” said Valerie Lynch “and it was a tough call, but with the help of my magnificent chorus management team, I had a golden opportunity to get to know every single chorus member on an individual basis.” Valerie offered one-to-one coaching on a voluntary basis and almost every member of the chorus signed up. As a qualified vocal coach, she was able to help each member improve their singing technique and learn two new contest songs. Valerie is also a trained opera singer and has sung with many famous people throughout her earlier career, including the fabulous Pavarotti.
While Valerie was busy coaching, the management team thought up new ways to keep members engaged, culminating in a weekly ‘Happy Hour’ Zoom meeting, with each member bringing their favourite tipple to toast everyone. Many of the chorus took part in a virtual chorus tag and a full virtual version of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ which they released to great acclaim.
During their fifteen weeks of confinement, the management team tirelessly researched ways in which the chorus could safely get back together and sing. The solution was to sing outdoors, following strict safety guidelines, which included taking everyone’s temperature on arrival, hand sanitiser, face masks at all times and visors when singing, no hugs, no kisses and safe distancing at all times. They needed a venue where they could sing outside with plenty of space and shade. They found their ideal venue in Kinita Restaurant & Beach Club in San Javier. Renovated by its new owners, Kinita, with its backdrop of the Mar Menor, it’s an idyllic place to rehearse and Murcia 7 TV was keen to come and film Spangles rehearsing. Baritone, Conchita, stole the show with her lively and funny interview, even getting the interviewer to audition for the chorus, and the 15 minute Spangles spot was televised last week.
While the weather is good, Spangles will continue rehearsing at Kinita and will look to return to their usual rehearsal venue at Las Claras some time during the winter. “Of course, a lot will depend on how things go with Covid 19, but we are hopeful that we can return soon” remarked Chorus Manager, Lyn Baines. “We are so grateful to be back singing together. We are like one big family and we have missed being together very much”.
Spangles summer rehearsals are every Thursday, from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm at Kinita Restaurant & Beach Bar, San Javier and visitors are always welcome. If you’d like to book the chorus for an event or you are thinking about joining them, you can find out more on their website: www.spangleschorus.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s the full TV appearance: