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OV

18 December

Festive zooming with Virtual Choir

This week we were very excited to learn about this wonderful Christmas project from one of our OVs. OV John Bowley (Cl 77-87) and his wife set up a virtual choir earlier this year and have been working together to serve their local community and have been pulling the stops out this Christmas. John tells us more…

“I live on the beautiful island of Jersey. Sadly, Covid is as bad here as elsewhere. The Government here has taken a different approach to certain things, and music has been hit particularly hard. Singing in groups – even carol singing outside with 4 people has been banned. There has been no singing since the Spring. All of the island’s choirs and singing in schools has stopped, which is heart breaking.

In the summer my wife and I decided to set up a virtual choir. We rehearse each week online, over Zoom, which has been great fun. The individuals can only hear us singing at the other end, not all the other singers (because of latency in Zoom) but that hasn’t stopped about 80 people joining us.

We decided to make some tracks, and sell them to raise money for local charities supporting the elderly, and those particularly challenged by the current situation. Every penny we receive goes to charity. We have raised over £3,000 so far! We also do a weekly stream into care homes, asking local musicians and students to perform for them. That is greatly appreciated.

We are really delighted with our Christmas Single, John Rutter’s Candlelight Carol. Please go to the website www.aureolemusic.co.uk and see it. We even got John Rutter himself to appear! All we raise will go to NSPCC Jersey and Age Concern Jersey.

Perhaps the craziest thing we have done was a Come & Sing & Play Handel’s Messiah last week. (We cut it down, so we performed about half of it) This was on zoom too, so nobody could hear each other, but we streamed a performance, and every one played and sang along. We had local soloists perform the solos, both students and professionals. That event alone raised approx. £800.

Please have a look at the site and the various things we have done. We stood together on Ouaisne Beach to sing, Something Inside (So Strong) written by Labi Siffre as a protest against the South African Apartheid regime, and combined with the amazing artwork created by The Jersey Sandman, the choir made a strong statement for Jersey as we stand together with all of those protesting against the shocking death of George Floyd.

Have a look at The Road home, (By Stephen Paulus) too. My son sings a solo on this track, and it shows how beautiful Jersey is.

Nicki, my wife and I are hugely proud of our virtual choir and all we are doing. Sending all Best Christmassy and New Year Wishes to all King’s School Worcester folk. Keep safe!”