One year on …
So here I am, writing a few words about what we’ve been up to at Bristol Fashion recently. Along with many of you in the privacy of your own homes or the busy-ness of your workplace, I’ve just observed the minute’s silence to mark the first anniversary of the initial lockdown. I remembered those close to me who have passed, and said a quiet prayer for those who have fallen ill or been apart from those who mean most to them over the last year. I also reflected on what I was doing back then and how I felt. It had been increasingly inevitable that something drastic was about to happen in our lives – we’d already been told not to go to the pub, not to gather in song, to work from home if we could, to wash our hands, keep space, stay safe, save the NHS… I was worried about friends and family, and felt generally helpless about everything. Finishing my shift at work at 2pm, I dashed to the supermarket only to find the shelves empty of fresh food, pasta and of course, toilet roll.
We all know the statistics of the last year. 126,000 souls dead from the virus in the UK alone. Many, many more fell ill, some hospitalised. Millions of people grieving for their loved ones. Back then, we sat glued to the telly awaiting any hint of good news, of hope, but there was very little to be had. But out of the gloom came a tiny, tiny glimmer of something uplifting – the weather gods smiled upon us and brought positivity with days of glorious spring sunshine giving warmth to our hour-long daily exercise.
The human condition is known to bring creativity in the face of adversity and, given the fact that we couldn’t sing together in person, we found ways of singing together virtually. So today, we also mark our Zoomiversary and give a little note of thanks for the technology that kept us together. It has facilitated something that would consistently appear in our diaries when the days, weeks and months seemed to merge together without the landmarks of celebrations or holidays. It’s provided us with an increasing sense of community and support, and although it hasn’t always been easy, we’ve had a place to share our tears, our laughter and our music. We’ve brought so much variety to our rehearsals. In the last month alone, we’ve learned new songs, written new songs (thanks Jenn and her A Prayer for BF), enjoyed recorded performances (Craig and his fellow MDs from Bristol Mix) celebrated Mother’s Day, International Women’s Day and Red Nose Day in true Bristol Fashion style! And most importantly, we’ve started to receive our vaccinations.
It’s the little beacons that provide the hope that sometime in the now-nearing future, we’ll come together in song in the presence of others. Thanks to everyone who has kept us afloat over the last year – to the team who provide the basis of our rehearsals and to those who’ve taken up guest slots and cameo roles. To those who’ve been quietly beavering away on committees, raising money for charity, setting up sidelines and WhatsApp groups. And to every single one of you for sticking with it, coming with a smile when you can and a note when you can’t. We wouldn’t still be here, planning for when we can be together again, without everyone’s patience, creativity and good humour.
Until we sing again, keep smiling and stay safe. x
Bristol Fashion Chorus.