For several years now the Chantry Quire has performed an annual Passiontide Meditation – a programme of music and thought-provoking readings – in Boxgrove Priory.
The concert has been sponsored by Rathbones, which has enabled us to give the proceeds to support the Aldingbourne Trust, a local charity that does remarkable work with young disabled people; over the years the choir has raised over £5000 for the Trust. As those of you who have attended previous performances will recall, we have always included a short presentation from a member of Aldingbourne’s staff, and from one of their young clients themselves, to remind us what it’s all about. We feel a special connection with the Trust as the mother of two of our singers was instrumental in setting it up.
But of course Covid-19 has changed everything. We had to cancel last year’s concert, and we won’t be able to perform this year’s either – or not in the normal way. We did, however, want to honour our commitment both to Aldingbourne and to Boxgrove. So our musical director, Peter Allwood, came up with the idea of performing a rather shorter programme of music and readings, which we would all record separately at home, and then have combined – by technical wizardry – into a single video concert.
We are giving it our best efforts: learning the music, following the guide tracks pre-recorded by a group of four young soloists at the beginning of their careers so as to get our timing exactly right, and then recording ourselves at home. It feels very strange, but it is still wonderful to get back singing together, even if virtually.
This all costs money, of course – the soloists, the musical director and the video producer all need to be paid. So we appealed to everyone we could think of for help, and the response was amazing! In fact, we have raised more than we needed, from more than 30 different sponsors – local companies, friends and family, choir members past and present … We are so grateful to everyone who has helped to make our video dream a reality.
The video will actually be launched at 6pm on the Tuesday of Holy Week, 30th March. You will be able to access it via the Chantry Quire website, so do please watch it, either then or later – it will remain freely available. It will include a short introduction from Aldingbourne, and viewers will of course be warmly encouraged to make a generous donation to the Trust. You may even spot – among the postage-stamp-sized faces – a few faces you recognise!