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  • Writer's pictureKate Woodman

How can I keep from singing?

Pomfret's Grifftones - 2006 Yale Club NYC

J'adore chanter. Toute ma vie, j'ai chanté avec des choeurs .... à l'église, à l'école et à la communauté. Donc, quand le Covid arrive, c'est dur pour moi de ne pas chanter ensemble avec ma choeur actuel, le Paris Choral Society (PCS). Je n'étais pas seule. Chanteuses and chanteurs partout essayaient de trouver un moyen créatif de chanter ensemble. J'avais la chance d'être inviter à rejoindre une groupe de neuf femmes (toutes chantent avec le PCS) pour chanter ensemble pendant le confinement. J'étais ravie d'être inviter à les rejoindre et j'ai dit "oui" avec beaucoup d'enthousiasme. Nous sommes 5 Anglaises, 3 Américaines et une française.

I love to sing. All my life, I've sung in a choir .... at church, at school, in the community. Music feeds my soul, and singing at times is a form of worship for me.

Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia - Barcelona

So when the world was overturned by Covid-19 last spring, I and singers everywhere struggled to fill the void where music and song had once been. We were desperate to find creative ways to sing together. Fortunately for me, a friend from the Paris Choral Society (my current choir) asked me to join a small group of women (all PCS members) who were getting together to sing during the confinement. I enthusiastically agreed to join them. We are English, Welsh, Australian, American and French and over the past 6 months we have made beautiful music together, laughed until we cried, dined on Nancy's delicious meals, drunk copious amounts of wine (them not me!)....and most importantly become friends.

We call ourselves "les Chants Elysées" because we are singers who all met at PCS rehearsals which take place just off les Champs Elysées.

LCE rehearsing this summer

Les Chants Elysées during one of our Friday apéro Zoom calls

On a répété dans le grand appartement d'une de nos membres avec toutes les fenêtres ouvert, en prenant soin d'être 2 mètres l'une de l'autre. Pendant septembre et octobre, on avait beaucoup de répétitions pour preparer un concert à la cathédrale américaine de Paris en novembre, mais le concert était malheureusement annulé au cause du reconfinement.

We rehearsed in the large apartment of one of our members, with all the windows open, standing at least two meters apart. During September and October we had many rehearsals, preparing for a concert in early November at the American Cathedral. As luck would have it, just days before the concert, France went again into lockdown, the concert was canceled and the LCEs scattered to their preferred places of confinement.

Brittany - my refuge in confinement

Sans se laisser découragé, on a fait un enregistrement d'une chanson qui exprime ce qu'on ressent. C'est impossible pour nous de ne chanter pas!

Undeterred by confinement, the LCE's found another way to sing together and share the music. Spearheaded by Laurence, we each recorded ourselves singing "How can I keep from singing?" (a most appropriate song for this difficult time), and shared photos of our respective worlds during confinement (Paris, Brittany, Alpes de Haute Provence and Spain). Working together, we created a recording of our blended voices, illustrated by our own images.

Alors, je vous donne un cadeau, un rayon de lumière et d'espoir, qui j'espère ça vous fera sourire.

And so I give you "How can I keep from singing?" - a ray of light and hope - may it make you smile.

Joyeuses fêtes à vous!!


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