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Wednesday, 23 June 2021
- Community News
by Jon Davies – Reporter
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Ross-on-Wye choir Sing Out Strong have announced they will be hosting the first ever Covid Memorial Concert next year.
The SOS Reunion/Covid Memorial Concert will take place in person at Hereford Cathedral on Saturday 20th August 2022.
This comes after the group have been forced to conduct virtual choirs for over a year due to the Covid pandemic.
Sing Out Strong consists of a group of local choirs in Herefordshire, set up by professional conductor and vocal coach Emma Rowland who also lives in Ross-on-Wye.
Emma, who was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in 2018, set up the choir with the aim of helping people improve their mental health and well-being, through singing as part of the group.
Starting up in 2019 the choir proved to be a great success with demand seeing a number of Sing Out Strong choirs launched in the local area.
Sadly due to Covid and subsequent lockdowns, the choir’s rapid progress was halted with members unable to meet up in person. However, what started out as virtual sessions set up by Emma, soon grew in popularity with Emma eventually deciding to expand the group and start a virtual choir.
The group now has over 10,000 members from over 100 countries, with members from various different cultures able to come together and bond over their shared love of music, and recently featured on BBC News following the release of their new song.
‘I’ve Been Waiting’ premiered on YouTube on Monday 17th May, and was a global project with the song marking the impact of the Covid pandemic around the world.
The group are now inviting anyone who has ever sung with them (in person or online) to come and join the choir, in a chance to meet other singers from around the world who have joined their voices in song throughout the pandemic, and to celebrate the truly global feel of music, and Sing out Strong.
The choir will run online rehearsals from January 2022 to start putting the music together and then hold one exciting masterclass rehearsal on the day, where the choir will be taught by SOS Founder Emma Rowland and guest conductor Lorilee Bajema from the USA.
The concert will feature all of the pieces the group have sung in their online virtual choir this year – plus a few surprises and their virtual choir videos will be played on a big screen behind the choir while they sing.
Speaking to the Gazette, Sing Out Strong conductor Emma said:“If the last year has shown us anything, it’s that music has an unparalleled way of uniting the world, even when we are forced apart. We have been so thrilled by the response we’ve had to our online projects since March 2020 and so proud of all our singers who have taken part – 11 thousand of them in 100 countries. The concert is our way of properly meeting and thanking our choir family, while honouring those loved ones that we have lost to COVID-19, whose memories will live on in our hearts and our songs.”
All of the money raised by the concert will go to Mind, a mental health charity here in the UK.
In order to stage the concert, Emma has set up a crowdfunding page to help raise ￡3,000 to pay all costs for the concert upfront, so that all monies made on the night can go to helping Mind continue their vital work in the UK.
If you would like to donate towards the concert, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/soscovidmemorial