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a piano if a field

It is thought to have been the finest speech of the Second World War, perhaps the finest of Churchill’s career:

We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

The spirit lingers on as choirs across Britain look to sustain rehearsals despite the Government restrictions that limit more than six people singing together indoors.

Substitute beaches for car park, landing grounds for public parks, fields – well fields it shall be – and for streets and hills read sports grounds and Welsh vales.

As the Cirencester Male Voice Choir rehearses outside at the Cirencester Rugby club, so many other choirs have abandoned Zoom and have found novel venues to gather in, from hillsides under the hum of wind turbines to car parks and countryside.

In Yorkshire the Featherstone Male Voice Choir sing together in the stand at Featherstone Rovers Rugby League Club; Chester Male Voice Choir rehearse at Chester Rugby Club. Members of the Got 2 Sing choirs, from across the Midlands, are meeting in a large field at Bodenham Arboretum near Kidderminster.

The 99-year-old Epsom Choral Society are coping with the acoustics of a multi-storey car park at the town’s Ashley Centre

A chamber choir based in Oswestry has cunningly hopped the border into Wales to sing in a chapel under Welsh lockdown laws.

In Ayrshire the Infinity Choir is entertaining passing dog walkers in a local park, and the Durham Singers gathered in the gardens of Ushaw Historic House, a former Catholic Seminary in the heart of the countryside.

The impact of lockdowns has cost millions of pounds, according to Making Music, which represents 3,700 groups and around 200,000 music makers across the UK. 

“32% of the losses are still attributable to continued payments to their MD/conductor, despite activity being suspended. This explains that the overriding fear of groups looking to the future is the permanent loss of members because the group will have lost momentum and members will have lost motivation.”

CMVC, like so many other determined choirs across the nation, is happy to declare: ‘We shall never surrender.’