Hello to our valued friends and singers!
This is the time of year when we usually contact you with initial news of our musical aspirations for the following summer and, specifically, with the intended repertoire for the Festival next August. Each recent December, we have invited next year’s choir to begin to re-join as association members and to begin to enrol again to join in the fun and rewards of singing a newly-selected grand choral oeuvre and some a cappella choices with our musicians, recently under the inspiring guidance of Graham Ross.
You will remember that we went through this routine a year ago and you responded with typical New Year optimism, only for it to come to nought at least in the warmth of the Pays de Fayence. We were all so relieved and thrilled to be able to manage a successful set of rehearsals and a performance of the planned Brahms Requiem in magical English surroundings – out-doors and suitably spaced out but with no paying audience – in the best week for September weather that any of us could possibly imagine. We were so lucky! As we look out at the damp and chill of our garden where we all ate and drank together over those last days when it was still legal days, we can still enjoy the video of the Requiem. And this is all that sits on our website where the next year’s plans would previously have been announced.
Optimism is beginning to creep back into our lives, boosted by vaccine news but still constrained both by uncertainty about when singers or audiences will next be ready to venture into medieval spaces to listen to lovely music together…. and by Brexit nervousness and rules which may tame our capacity to attract musicians. All this makes essential early planning very difficult. We can envisage but we cannot yet organise!
Meanwhile our annual costs continue to mount up and various obligations (elections, accounts, annual returns) do not disappear. Our intended 2020 fund-raisers never happened, we had no Box Office, most funds collected had to be reimbursed and uncertainty still reigns even as our choir WhatsApp group continued to hum with your online musical offerings, uplifting humour and occasional political rumblings. We are hugely grateful to the loyal supporters who did nevertheless make generous donations to The Musique-Cordiale Trust or to L’association Musique Cordiale, hoping for our eventual revival. And I am working on a video anthology of our past musical offerings to brighten the early days of 2021 while Pippa plods the countryside with the dog, prepares her plantings for next season and practices late Beethoven quartet parts on her violin while contemplating a future when the rest of the quartet can assemble and our choir and orchestra can gather again to sing and play (and drink and laugh).
When we have something exciting to share or ask you, we will be in touch. It seems that by Easter we may be able to think ahead again (if Pippa’s crop-schedule allows and to fit the hopes you’ll all have for lives resumed!)
For now, we have just a few administrative tasks:
1. A few of you (about 12?) remain un-invoiced for your participation, meals or accommodation since we gathered together to sing in Kent in September. I regret that will finally be sending bills this week.
2. There may also be one or two of you who did not respond earlier but who would still like some money back from us: please contact me if you need it; otherwise, it will be carried forward until we can assemble again.
More interestingly, we need to refresh the association’s committee (conseil d’administration). Previously, we tended to limit membership of this to people who could physically meet in Seillans, especially in the Spring. But, now that we have all become used to zooming, we think we could have a proper pan-European committee to match the pan-Euro musical ensemble. So we are seeking nominations or offers from those of you who care about Musique Cordiale and might like to contribute to our plans for the future.
We HOPE eventually to be able to put on a show or two somewhere in 2021. We remain unclear what we may manage in Seillans or the Pays de Fayence (with the advance arrangements and lead-time required). But we have been invited to make plans for something ambitious (and viable) in Doddington Place gardens (and maybe churches and assembly rooms) in Kent again in the summer and maybe somewhere indoors again next autumn. Your suggestions are always welcome, especially, of course, if you’d like to join and rejuvenate our organising committee, or in other ways, help to make it happen!
We send you all our best wishes for Christmas and, especially, for musical revival in the New Year!)