Freedom is coming? – we can only hope!
So what would it be like for us in the Manchester Community Choir to sing face to face, if socially distanced and outdoors at St. Margaret’s Centre, Whalley Range, Manchester. Some familiar choir faces were absent but we had the additional pleasure of singing with Open Voice Choir which feels like a sister choir to us. It was 16 months since the MCC had last sang together in person – Open Voice choir had done some outdoor rehearsals recently.
This was the weekend when we should have been singing as part of the annual Street Choirs Festival in Middlesbrough. So instead we were singing the 6 most popular street choir songs as were many choirs up and down the country. As ever we were conducted brilliantly by Rose Hodgson. Unfortunately Carol Donaldson, the director of Open Voice was ill – get well soon Carol – but she did join us on Zoom as did some members from both choirs. The Zoom link was live streamed by Helen Beauchamp and the videoing by John Eaden.
After a warm up and some practice we started with Freedom is coming which seemed a very relevant and exhilarating song when we are seemingly approaching the end of Covid restrictions. Then it was E Malama a song from Hawaii that reminds us that we have to ‘Hold this land in sacredness’ and thereby look after the earth. The rousing Sing John Ball reminded us of the centuries old fight for equality – ‘All shall be ruled by fellowship, I say, when we are ruled by the love of one another’. Nana was a Suffragette was a reminder, if one was necessary, of the struggle for gender equality that continues, with also a sense of history and set in Manchester. Let the river run, written by Carly Simon – ‘Let the river run, let all the dreamers wake the nation’ somehow this makes sense right now! And it is such a song to sing in the different sections and harmonies. Finally we finished with Siyahamba an exuberant South African song again stressing the need for freedom.
It was so good to sing together in person once more.