by Guest Writer
Entelechy Arts Teams working with partners from the Albany have been fast tracking new ways of working to keep in creative contact with isolated older people from our joint Meet Me… networks. The Meet Me Choir is one of the jewels in the crown. In recent years, in addition to performances in many venues across Lewisham, they have sung at the Queen’s House in Greenwich and in Queen Elizabeth Hall in Southbank Centre.
So how would they keep going in the time of Covid-19? How could choir members keep connected and creatively flourishing? Entelechy Arts intern and volunteer lead Caitlan Smith gives us a glimpse of the story…
Upon entering the “room”, a parallel to the Red Room is immediately created as we roleplay taking off rain-soaked coats and sitting down next to each other. Even from 200 miles away, there is a feeling of familiarity as I sit back with a cup of tea in hand and listen to catch up conversations about the weather.
A usual 1 to 1 phone call can seem such an intimate thing, but this new experience of hearing many familiar voices all from my phone felt so joyous and open. With 7 people all sharing one line, of course there were occasional moments of chaos as people arrive at varying times and with some accidental moments of overlap when going to talk. But these are often just met with bright bursts of laughter and polite turn-taking, as would happen in real life.
After a couple of attempts of trying to sing together, we realise that the lag is a chaotic conductor causing noisy rounds to occur. Instead, we invited each member to perform their own solo. It is as if we are all sat around a campfire, intensely listening and feeling each word that is shared. The confidence of the members is inspiring as they sing their hearts out down the line, wanting to share their high spirits and optimistic words with the group.
Creating and sharing art helps us to express ourselves and plays such an important role in allowing us to come to terms with these new circumstances. No matter what the world throws at us, we will continue to perform and collaborate, inspire and make our mark, and support each other through these uncertain times.