Love Shone Down Brings Covid Zoom Choristers Together in Person

Back in the depths of lockdown in 2020 when everyone was under strict restriction rules people found ways of liaising and keeping in touch. Some turned to online House Party, others did a weekly WhatsApp family quiz, the Thursday evening clap of appreciation to the NHS workers was in full swing and all these things punctuated a long, lonely and bizarre period in our lives.

Canton RFC Male Voice Choir were bereft from losing their Wednesday evening practise and a huge gap needed to be filled in order to keep them together. Determined to stay upbeat, in touch and active, choir conductor Les Collins orchestrated weekly Zoom choir rehearsals which was an excellent idea. It was a way of catching up and boosting the morale of all involved. Monica Roblin (Musical Director) would play the piano and one by one choristers would pop up on the screen, some looking bewildered, some accidentally on mute and some with wives helping them to tune in. It was an hour of connecting, a togetherness and a fulfilment that was an essential substitute. After some weeks Les grew confident that this Zoom method was a success and he decided with the help of his daughter Laura Collins to take it a step further…

Laura who is the founder member of two Ladies’ choirs in the Midlands thought it would be a lovely idea to meld three choirs together. She liaised with her brother Matthew Collins, a freelance musician and sound engineer, and suggested to their father that between them they would be able to put together remotely, a collaborative video of Canton RFC Male Voice Choir, and two Women’s choirs- Everything but the Diva (which Laura, a jazz singer, is in) and the Sutton Songsters. Both Ladies’ choirs are from Sutton Coldfield in the Midlands, England. Les and Monica were up for the challenge and put it to the Canton RFC Male Voice Choir!

Everyone seemed to be on board and rehearsals from then on were a mixture of Zoom and some outdoor social distancing meetings from September 2020 at the club house in Leckwith, Cardiff. Each section of the choir had to learn their part which eventually had to be recorded by individual choristers and digitally sent to Matthew for him to edit and produce. At the time the choristers had no idea how this would be pieced together or sound but were all willing participants. 120 miles away two choirs were doing exactly the same.

The chosen song was Love Shone Down with the vision that it would be ready and released in time for Christmas 2020.

The finished article was fantastic, well edited and produced. The cello and piano intro to the song was performed by Laura Collins and Monica Roblin. All three choirs performed beautifully and the Zoom style video was a sensational hit. The video has received over 4.3K views and raised substantial funds for Shelter and Shelter Cymru.

Nearly three and a half years later Canton RFC Male Voice Choir and Everything but the Diva will meet for the first-time face to face to perform Love Shone Down in person at a charity event in Cardiff. Having never met this will be a wonderful experience which will give them the freedom to embrace and come together in song, celebrate their achievement and make more memories.

If you would like to attend the concert, it is being held at the St Vincent’s Centre, Mill Road, Ely, Cardiff, CF5 4AG on Saturday 27th April, 7.30 pm. Tickets are £5 and available on the door with proceeds going towards funds for the Centre.