The Singers’ Murray Street Home: Updates and Accessibility

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The PS executive and volunteers have been working in tandem with Murray Street Baptist Church to make the choir’s rehearsal space—in the church sanctuary—even more accommodating. First came the removal of some pews, which were replaced by movable, upholstered chairs. Being able to form a semicircle during rehearsal helps each part hear all others, so altos, sopranos, tenors, and basses can experience “the blend.” The chairs will also be more comfortable for audience members who come to the upcoming Un-Concert, to be held in the church on Sunday, October 20 at 7 pm.

If you are planning a visit to Murray Street, to attend the Un-Concert, to audition for the Singers, or to come to one of our sight-singing classes, you might want to look over the new accessibility guide, entitled A Guide for Newcomers Attending a Concert by The Peterborough Singers at Murray Street Baptist Church. This guide was produced as part of the “Relaxed Performances” initiative, sponsored by the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough, and it’s useful for all who want the skinny on public transport and parking and washrooms and seating. . . .

So at the end of last season we had comfortable seating and a guide to make our rehearsal space more accessible. But one problem remained—lighting. Choir members were struggling to read their music in the dim light thrown by the attractively muted but not very effective bulbs in the church’s ceiling fixtures. After Artistic Director Syd Birrell joined the tenor section during the rehearsal of “In Dulci Jubilo” by Karl Jenkins, music that has notoriously small print, those sitting next to him suspected that something was about to change! Here is his story about the latest Murray Street upgrade.

Behind the Scenes, or Under the Ladder

Last night six of us met at Murray Street, with light meter apps installed on our cell phones and copies of Karl Jenkins’s “In Dulci Jubilo.” We manoeuvred a very long and heavy stepladder out of the basement, set it up at the front of the church, and began testing various fancy and expensive LED bulbs in the overhead light fixtures. First you flip the breaker off. Then someone brave climbs the ladder, with four people below steadying the whole thing, and the climber removes the old bulb (500 watts), returns to ground level, takes up an LED, and installs it. Then you come down and flip the breaker back on.  Yes, before we tried the fancy LEDs, we took some readings. In the middle aisle of the church, the LUX app reading for the old lighting was around 75. At the extremities by the windows, it was 20 or less. No wonder we couldn’t read our music!

By the end of the evening, we had readings of over 100 near the windows and 250 directly underneath the new lights. The church will apply for a grant to replace all the old light bulbs. For now, we have two fabulous lights for the choir area.