Artistic Director Syd Birrell Announces “Bridge Year”

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I wonder if you can guess what it is like for me on concert day as I mount the podium, clutching my speaking notes and hoping my dress code is in order, turning around to see you all: so supportive so loyal, friends old and new eager to hear the 100 combined voices of our extraordinary community choir, the Peterborough Singers.

Foremost when I climb those steps are my hopes that I won’t let you or the choir down. If I get it right, I will unleash a powerful, electric performance, full of beauty and emotion — and all our lives will be the better for it.

But now it is time to walk a different journey. I am writing to tell you that we are cancelling our 2020-21 concert season.

Photo courtesy of Jason Ryan

These past four months we have diligently explored every possible avenue. We have experimented with Zoom rehearsals and virtual performances. And you know what? Singing alone to your computer holed up in your bedroom is something that none of us signed up for. It’s just no fun.

More importantly, we simply cannot see how we can safely invite our audience to a live concert for the foreseeable future. We could put off until the last minute to decide whether or not to cancel each concert, but that leads inevitably to dashed hopes.

I am sure you understand how hard it is for us to face this reality. But rather than look back, we have decided to look forward. We will put all our energy and imagination into what we are calling a Bridge Year.

This fall, our focus will be the emotional well-being of choir members. Social-distancing protocols permitting, our choir will meet in small groups in diverse locations, in- and out-of-doors. We’ll be singing madrigals or Broadway, Renaissance or Spirituals, opera or folk.

I am afraid that we see little chance of singing in front of our audience in the coming year. Yet we are confident that, guided by our Board of Directors’ Recovery Team, we will find our way through these times to ultimately sing for you again.

We will profoundly miss singing with you, but we are committed to staying in touch throughout our Bridge Year. And of course, should the situation change, we will eagerly embrace singing for you sooner than later. For now though, we want to share this virtual recording of Bridge Over Troubled Water. I hope you enjoy it.

I wish you all the very best of health.  And please drop me a line at sbirrell@sympatico.ca – I would love to hear from you!

Syd

Artistic Director
The Peterborough Singers