Angmering Chorale return to the concert platform

Angmering Chorale is looking forward to its first concert since before the first lockdown wiped our calendars clean.

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 11:05 am
George Jones - photo by David Rooke

They will be performing in Arundel Cathedral where they are currently rehearsing.

The concert on Saturday, November 20 at 7.30pm will be conducted by musical director George Jones and will offer a festival of British music by Bob Chilcott and John Rutter, accompanied by the Sinfonia of Arun.

George said: “It has been a very difficult time especially when the government decided that singing was the most infecting thing of all. I think that the arts suffered very badly and unfairly and were always the last to get advice. We just had to wait. It was the old thing about communications really.

“We had a concert planned for the spring of 2020 in Arundel Cathedral, but the cathedral like everybody else had to shut down its acts of worship and other activities and we were just part of that. I think the mood was that we were just resigned but also very upset because we had a concert planned that we were looking forward to.

“After that we contemplated doing things on Zoom but that didn’t really work. People in their own homes on their own singing got a bit of a shock and didn’t realise how they sounded and were rather disappointed with what they discovered about themselves. But just being in a small room with a camera pointed at you and singing is a very lonely place anyway, and one of the main things that we missed was the social aspect of everyone coming together.

“I did try to communicate as often as we could just to keep people on side and just keep people feeling that they belonged together. And eventually we were able to have a couple of open-air rehearsals at The Angmering School. The most important thing was that social aspect of coming together after months and months of lockdown and people were so pleased. That was the beginning of July this year. It was a huge relief. People were so pleased to see each other again. We had to have the full social distancing and so on but of course it was much safer because we were outside rather than being in a building, and we felt that it was a good first step.

“The priority was getting confidence back in being able to sing and confidence about being safe. We started rehearsals properly at the beginning of this term in September. We have been building up to it. Our previous rehearsal venue, the Angmering Baptist Church, was great but it was just thought that it was too small. Our membership is just under 100 and the church could not social distance enough or ventilate enough, it was felt. So we started looking across the area for somewhere else and we have ended up rehearsing in Arundel Cathedral. The cathedral have been most helpful. We have done our concerts there for many years and so we already had a good relationship”

The Chorale ultimately would like to get back to Angmering: “Personally speaking I would love to stay in the cathedral but the journey for people coming from Worthing and parking can be difficult. And the cathedral can be pretty chilly! But it is a wonderful place to sing and it is an absolutely incredible privilege but some of our members are not making the trip over there, people who are perhaps slightly frail. It is not the ideal solution but at the moment it is the most fantastic opportunity.”