Members: Covid Experiences

On foot of recent ‘general’ Zoom choir meetings and the recent AGM, as your silent (for the moment!) choir manager, I would like to share some thoughts on the last few months.

Under Covid 19 restrictions, being released to resume work on 18th May, my concentration was on my clients and trying to keep up with months of growth in their gardens.

Until David outlined  at the AGM ,how much we had accomplished in 2019 -a baptism of fire for me – it was a re-awakening to what it means for me  being a member of Guinness Choir.

It is a CORE of musicality, friendship, support, Angst (it will be alright on the night/ it will be grand!) and celebrations of – performances with international soloists and conductors, marriages, remembrances of past and family members, social gatherings.

With some hours to spare over the last weekends, I listened to Bach B minor, St. John Passion, Messiah, Elijah, St. Paul, The Kingdom and the Apostles and The Dream, Brahm’s Requiem – even Ghostbusters, compliments of Lilian Smith. Those hours brought me straight back, vibrantly, to all those venues, the befores and afters. And as for Sicily – well, if you remember, then you are in my age bracket so —-

Let’s keep singing, stay well and keep in touch.

All the best.


Mary Ryan – Silent Choir Manager

We continued working at our individual projects unaffected by the lockdown. However, a rediscovery of a Christmas present of some years ago, a cook-book entitled Complete Comfort Food  prompted many satisfying adventures courtesy of Bridget Jones, contributing editor.
Musically, Patrick had a few rehearsals on Zoom and participated in two choral events- one for ‘Sing Ireland’ and one with the Philamonic ‘An Irish Blessing’.
We are now rehearsing for the virtual Elijah, June 27th. Phew!
The Mediterranean interval saw us walking around Tara Hill and visiting a deserted local beach.
Wine wise, Patrick has enjoyed a special collection delivered by Kelly’s Hotel, Rosslare!!

Patrick and Megan

As well as remote choral singing,  my other project in the last 3 months has been to learn to play one piece on the piano. I never learned to play so this is not playing from sight, but with the help of James Rhodes’ book “How to play the piano ” I learnt the Bach Prelude no.1 in C. Slowly, it takes me 5 mins but I did it today!

 Don’t expect any expression, this is on a 25yr old electronic keyboard with no touch sensitivity or pedal. I could have created the sound file with a MIDI player and nobody would know the difference but there’s a certain satisfaction in achieving something the old fashioned muscular analogue way.

Time for a glass of Cave Yves Cuilleron Saint-Joseph Cavanos.

Next lockdown, next piece.


Some reading during  lockdown:

That they may face the rising sun, John McGahern, 2002.  I really enjoyed this leisurely read, absorbing me into 1960’s rural life in a fairly close-knit community of small farmers, and neighbouring townspeople in an Irish county near the N.I. border.  It is a long and loving novel, with a kindly eye for human qualities and foibles as the central characters emerge gently but clearly as distinctive personalities.  They are powerfully networked together by social custom, history and relative poverty; but the reader can enter into even deeper bonds forged when real people get to know and like or dislike each other.  McGahern creates conversations with a brilliance of nuance that is immensely satisfying.  He is a master of the oblique.  The rhythms of the seasons and the constant accompaniment of the countryside and its beauty are very telling: they become major characters.  Gradually I became aware that this novel has a massive scope. Though completely local, it is universal – though McGahern has the tact never to say so. A spiritual vision underlies the writing – economics, politics, religion, all the natural world, all this shrewdness, kindly tolerance, generosity, meanness and idiosyncrasy, courage, faith, doubt, disappointment, love and sorrow, all of it is in the end caught up into a sense that there is more, that death may not be final, that there might be an overarching context: ‘that they may face the rising sun.  I realised that McGahern in his own subtle way has made the leap of faith.

(I also enjoyed two other novels: The Château by William Maxwell 1961 and The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, 2005.)