Well, it's a long time since our last blog - indeed a long time since the choir met together. And we have had some really tough blows since we last sang at St Martin-in-the-Fields on Wednesday 8 December (that was some gig!). First was the cancellation of our Railstaff Carol Service because of restrictions on working in offices which would have made it difficult to get our readers together and probably we would have been singing to a near empty church. Then on 23 December Merel went down with Covid and, like Maddy's experience, it was the long Covid type. We wish her (and Maddy of course) well, in the maybe long march to recovery and return as our MD.
In January we looked around for a temporary but well qualified MD and we were lucky to find David Morris who also conducts the BT choir in London. So far (at the time of writing) we have had two rehearsals with him at Stratford which I was fortunate to be able to attend and then last Saturday there was a Palestra session which was held as Storm Eunice started to abate. I missed that; stranded somewhere on a train. Doh! On 8 February we had a really good warmup (well, some of us hadn't been singing much since early December so we needed it) and learned a new round called something like Semele Dedenda, then The Water is Wide and I can hear a Train a'comin'. And a version of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. Clearly we and David seemed to get on fine together so he came back 15 February as did 4S, 3A, 3T and 3B plus 3-on-line. We looked at the above songs plus Something Inside So Strong and tried The Water is Wide in 4 as well as in 3. We coped and I think sounded rather good.
We have a programme of rehearsals mapped out and on behalf of the choir I have been working with RSSB (my employers) and Birmingham University to agree the details - and suitable fees - for our appearance at the opening ceremony of the World Congress of Rail Research at 16:00 (precisely of course) on Monday 6 June. See www.wcrr2022.co.uk for more details. We've submitted a list of songs that we could work on before and after some speeches. They could include:
Transport of Delight
I can hear a train a’comin
Stand by Me
Don’t stop believin’
If ye love me
So do attend our next rehearsals and we'll see how that project develops. But we're the named choir on their website so it must be true.