Got 2 Sing choir forced to rehearse outside as petition calls for restrictions to be lifted

Members of a popular group of choirs across the Midlands have been braving the elements to rehearse outside while backing calls for restrictions to be lifted.

Tracey Payne was among the Got 2 Sing members rehearsing at Bodenham Arboretum, Kidderminster
Tracey Payne was among the Got 2 Sing members rehearsing at Bodenham Arboretum, Kidderminster

The Got 2 Sing choirs have been unable to sing together for 14 months due to social distancing requirements and while people can now meet indoors, thousands of choirs across England have been hit by a change in government guidance.

Non-professional singing can only take place in groups of up to six people indoors and in multiples of 30 outdoors.

Members of the 16 adult Got 2 Sing choirs, from across the Midlands, have decided to rehearse under the current rules by meeting in a large field at Bodenham Arboretum at Wolverley, near Kidderminster.

Meanwhile singers across the country have raised an online petition calling for the Government to reveal the science behind its decision or change the rules.

So far the petition has been signed by more than 23,500 people but 100,000 signatures are required to prompt a Parliamentary debate.

Got 2 Sing rehearse at Bodenham Arboretum, Kidderminster

Beth Dunn, aged 36, from Stourbridge, is the director of the Got 2 Sing groups, which also include a youth choir.

She said: "We thought indoor rehearsals would be able to resume after more than a year of Covid-enforced online Zoom sessions but the following day on May 18 brought a crashing disappointment to thousands of amateur choirs.

"Without warning, the government updated its guidance to say that, in England, non-professional singing could take place only in groups of up to six people indoors.

"The new rules, published the day after many Covid restrictions were lifted has caused anger and disappointment.

"It is unfair and unjust as we take things seriously to protect our choir leaders and members and this is not the case of a free-for-all down at the pubs.

"It seems unfair that the world is opening up but we are going backwards.

Leader Cassie Abbott with founder Beth Dunn at Bodenham Arboretum

"We are very used to performing outdoors and on the streets and at festivals so we have decided that 80 members, drawn from the choirs across the Midlands, can meet in the field at Bodenham in multiple groups of 30, staying two metres apart.

"We have sung in rain, snow and gales and our members will turn out whatever the weather."

Beth ran a performing arts school for children in Stourbridge and realised in 2011 there was a demand for a choir for adults.

Before the Covid pandemic the choirs across the Midlands had attracted more than 1,100 members who performed at festivals, local churches and venues such as the Black Country Museum, raising £125,000 for local charities.

Beth said she was confident membership numbers would increase again and she has already booked Symphony Hall for September 4 next year to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Got 2 Sing.

During the pandemic two online choirs were started and these have people from America, Italy and Spain joining in on Monday and Wednesday evenings.

Although Beth feels it is vital for members to be able to rehearse together the online choirs are going to stay for those who find it difficult to meet.

Most Read

Most Read

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News