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York Community Choir Festival

Written by Candy George

After struggling to rehearse for around two years using Zoom, singing in Nat’s field, competing with noisy trains, traffic and combine harvesters. After months and months we eventually went into the comparative luxury of Standering Hall. This venue was still challenging as we endured the freezing winter evenings with doors and windows wide open to help protect us from the dreaded Covid - only our noses were warm thanks to the obligatory masks! Not ideal.

However, we persevered as our first post-lockdown singout on 5th March was fast approaching.

We had our final rehearsal on Tuesday 1st March and as we left the rehearsal room we were all excited about our forthcoming concert. We promised to keep practising at home and do lateral flow tests before we met again.

Then disaster struck!

Oh No! Poor Catrina, our accomplished and much loved Musical Director had tested Covid positive. Surely this can’t be true? She had worked so hard for this moment and was thwarted at the 11th hour. The Belles were in disbelief as we contacted each other to share the bad news. So unfair.

However, up stepped Helen, our Assistant Musical Director. Her main focus had been on just one song, Anthem. We were all quite confident with that one - it’s very moving and seems to suit our singing style. However, there were four other songs which had always had direction from Catrina and unfortunately Helen had had little or no opportunity to direct them. Naturally we were all rather nervous, with hardly a moment to rehearse together before we were "live on York Hospital Radio".

"Cometh The Hour, Cometh the Man” or in this case Woman! Helen stepped in like a pro and the Belles, not wanting to let Catrina down, stepped up and sang their hearts out. Helen kindly dedicated Beauty and the Beast to Catrina, as we know it’s one of her favourite songs. Judging by the enthusiastic applause, I think we did a good job and withheld the Belles reputation for quality due to hard work.

We had great feed back from many of the audience which is always rewarding, but as ever, perhaps the biggest reward we get is from being part of such a lovely chorus, made up with great friends with a common interest.

Once again I am SO proud to be an Abbey Belle. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do. Well done Helen and lovely Belles and get well soon Catrina x

Candy x

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