Conductor's Blog: April 2021

I am delighted to have taken on the role of Conductor with Horsham Chamber Choir.


Firstly, a little bit about me. I am currently finishing my master’s degree in choral conducting at the Royal Academy of Music. I conduct/assist with several other choirs in London, as well as performing as a singer with professional London church choirs and chamber ensembles.


It has been a very strange start to the year; I have only ever heard the choir singing together once, at my audition back in December 2020. Since the start of the 2021 spring term, we have been rehearsing solely online due to government restrictions around the Coronavirus outbreak.We have dived straight in to some well-known and well-loved classic choral repertoire centred around Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’, and including a selection of light springtime madrigals and other unaccompanied pieces.


It has been a challenging time, full of experiments (of varying levels of success!) to make our online rehearsals work for everyone. I have had to find new ways to make rehearsing on Zoom engaging and useful for the choir. As anyone who has been Zoom-rehearsing over the last year will know, unlike an in-person choir rehearsal, the conductor cannot hear the singers, which obviously makes rehearsing very tricky! Our wonderful committee came up with a ranking system from 1-5 to allow singers to rate their own progress in rehearsals, giving me instant feedback, allowing us to work at a suitable pace.


We have sung along with homemade learning tracks, layered round videos and professional recordings, as well as working on vocal technique and comparing different recordings. It has been a learning experience all-round!


I am tremendously excited for the choir to come back together to sing and to be able to hear all the hard work that the singers have been putting into online rehearsals every week. I want to extend my gratitude to the choir for persevering through the unusual situation and continually brightening my Thursday evenings.


Olivia Shotton  April 2021


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