Planning for the big coming together!  

Finally, it looks as though choral singers will be able to come together once again in full unison! After 16 months of Zoom rehearsals and singing solo in various home bedrooms, lounges and offices the novelty had, it’s fair to say, pretty much worn off. We’re very, very excited to be starting to get back to things in person and are busy planning for the future!

Back in the early months of the year our PRO, Janis Smith, came up with the idea of Return to Vocal Health (RTVH). As a team, we wanted to give ourselves the best chance to get match fit for when we were able to sing as a group again. Singing solo at home meant that most of us weren’t giving our vocal muscles a full or fulsome workout on a Thursday night and certainly some of the strength, conditioning and best practice we’d built up over the last couple of years had started to weaken. So RTVH was conceived. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday since March, Janis has sent out vocal warm-ups and exercises to help get us back in trim and prepared for the day when we could sing with each other in glorious four-part harmony. It’s an idea that was taken up by LABBS and we’re so proud of the fact that many other choruses have run their own versions of RTVH. We hope they’ve seen the benefits of it as much as we have.

And, excitingly, with the gradual relaxation of restrictions over the last couple of months we’ve been able to practice our renewed vocal health face to face. (It goes without saying that we’ve done this within the guidelines and with full risk assessments in place!) Things started very small with some of our in-house quartets meeting outside and layered up with scarves, hats and jumpers to keep the unseasonable, inclement weather out.

Singers_in_rain Singers_in_scarves

As the months passed, we progressed to small, outdoor sectional rehearsals until finally, we’ve been able to meet as a large group with many of the chorus singing in person. That has been absolutely glorious. Some of us were emotional, others ecstatic and one or two just took it all in their stride and pretty much picked up where we left off. And our MD Craig was just delighted that his arms still worked and when hearing our choral sound declared, “I am no longer worried” that we’d all lost the ability to sing well!


Here are just a few of the wonderful messages we received from our BF members about getting back together:

“Just felt seamless, like we’d never been away. Fliss, Craig, committee et al have been amazing in keeping everything going. I am pretty much in awe of the amazing people in our chorus. Bestest chorus anywhere”

“Surprisingly I slept like a log afterwards! Haven’t done that for months!”

“Golden nugget for me was seeing everyone. After a brutal 15 months in work just having my BF family around me singing was amazing. Nothing can beat having you girls stood around me having fun and sounding amazing xx”

“Feeling the emotion and the goosebumps on hearing our harmonies again! It’s going to carry me through another very difficult day”

“Strangely I was not emotional. We have planned and prepared well for last night and we were ready. BF business as usual!”

“Being in a beautiful place and hearing lovely harmony! Just awesome to be with everyone and making music again!”

“The sun shining on my face and hearing big harmonies all around me”

“It felt like we had all been asleep for 15 months and had just woken up and carried on.  Fabulous. You made an old woman very happy”

“My favourite bits were Craig’s little wry smiles as some lovely sound wafted towards him, and then when we worked on something and made progress together.”

“My golden nugget? On top of the together singing and harmonies and setting sun over Clevedon it was Craig “working” with us again and responding to his flapping. Am so ready for this. Not mushy, just so happy and warm feeling.”


We give a big, big thanks to the Everyone Active Stadium in Clevedon who agreed to let us take to their terraces and sing our hearts out while the local football team went through their fitness routines! And then… and then just maybe on 19th July, we’ll be able to plan to get back to ‘normal’ rehearsals and bring the full chorus together. What a day that will be! We’ve got a show to rehearse for – more news on that in another update blog!

Until then, keep singing!

Debbie Nichol, Bristol Fashion


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