How Can We Keep from Singing?

In March 2020, like so many other choirs and community groups, Higher Ground paused practices assuming that within “a few weeks” we’d be back to our repertoire and preparing for our annual Spring concert.

But weeks turned into months and it became abundantly clear that we would not be able to regroup for some time.
Under the strictest of COVID protocols, we held one outdoor practice in a school playground in late June of 2020, but it was not a plan that would be sustainable longer-term. It was great to be together again as a group, singing together and hearing the harmonies that each section contributes to a piece.

Leading up to September 2020, when it appeared there would be some easing of restrictions our hopes were raised that we could again sing together. With the state of the COVID pandemic and protocols required, the possibility of practising in our familiar environment at Argyle Secondary School, though, was not to be. But that didn’t stop us from trying!

Our fearless leader and choir director, Janet Warren, worked diligently to coordinate a practice space for us and Highlands United Church agreed that following Public Health guidelines and their own strict procedures, we could rent space there.

At the church, we had adequate room to physical distance, and we practiced safely for a few short weeks. We all learned that there is actually something called a Singer’s Mask – who’d have thought? So, we donned our masks, completed our hand sanitizing, allowed the space to air out for good periods within our sessions, and we were on the road again to preparing for a Christmas concert.

Then, the COVID numbers began to climb and our use of the church space was curtailed once again, as communities were required to tighten up on restrictions in a collective attempt to “bend the curve.”

Fast forward to September 2021 and we are now back in full swing preparing for this year’s holiday events. The variety of music that Janet has selected for us celebrates hope, joy, love and (of course), singing! ‘How Can I Keep from Singing’ is just one of the thirteen pieces that has inspired us all as we refine our performance and prepare for our Christmas concert and seasonal events.

While adversity tested us, we also ended up with a fabulous honour to be designated the “Choir in Residence” for Highlands United Church, and with that brings new opportunities for our choir.

We are all looking forward to being able to host guests, to share our joy of music and to inspire our audiences with hopeful and uplifting lyrics as well as some whimsical animation.

Our Christmas Concert will be held on Sunday, December 19 at 3 p.m. at Highlands United Church. Watch for the announcement for ticket sales for that event and for our other upcoming concerts and performances and witness how we have connected, together again, because we just can’t keep from singing!

-Pamela Hollington

Pamela sings second soprano and when she’s not singing with the group, is engulfed in card-making, art journaling, and most recently, singer’s mask making!

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