It wasn’t quite an outdoor concert, but a North Delta neighbourhood did get some unexpected entertainment last weekend.
Members of internationally renowned Vancouver Welsh Men’s Choir (VWMC) got together in the St. Cuthbert Anglican Church parking lot for a one-hour rehearsal under the guidance of musical director Jonathan Quick and with pianist Karen Lee-Morang. The session was one of two held in the Lower Mainland and was limited to just 12 of the 98 members due to COVID-19 social distancing measures.
What was supposed to be a special 40th anniversary season for the VWMC has been anything but due to the pandemic which cancelled a spring concert series and performances for the rest of the calendar year at least, including what has become a regular stop at the South Delta Baptist Church in Tsawwassen.
Thanks to the Zoom platform, the choir members were at least able to return to virtual rehearsals back in July.
“It isn’t conducive to a typical and beneficial rehearsal but what it enabled us to do was bring a level of normalcy,” explained 13-year member Julian Alphilbert, who also oversees VWMC’s public relations. “Our season starts in September and culminates in May or June. Every week we are practicing so the guys are used to seeing each other so there is the camaraderie and the socialization that takes place. The Zoom platform has enabled for us to do that quite adequately. What it hasn’t done is give us the level of singing that we are used to.”
The other rehearsal took place at a North Vancouver church to accommodate members living in that proximity. Alphilbert is unsure how many more outdoor sessions are planned with the rainy fall season ahead.
“Everything is subject to quick changes. We hope we’re to be able to have a spring concert next year,” he added. We want to continue to reach out to our audience members and we do have musical pieces we have done that are available (for sale) on our website.”
The VWMC typically performs about 14 concerts per year and usually travels internationally every three years. The choir has also established a bursary for graduating music students.