At the NFO we are all missing our rehearsals and concerts, but there is always music making happening somewhere in our homes behind the scenes! Leader Alan Ford shares his thoughts during these difficult times as we begin to look ahead.
"It has been a difficult few months for everyone. It was extremely disappointing to have to cancel our March Concert a fortnight before it was due to take place and subsequently the July concert went the same way.
I think it is important not to get too depressed and look for compensations. I know that unexpected things did emerge from lockdown – discovering new local walks for one. I think that quite a lot of people became more “tech-savvy” during this period and managed to find new ways of making music in solitary fashion or online with others. There are a number of Apps which help one to make music in the comfort of one’s home (for example “Partplay” for String players and “Appcompanist” for singers), and musicians from the NFO gathered together online with Westbourne Orchestra to join in Virtual Rehearsal Sessions run by their conductor Lee Marchant. At the NFO we also had fun through social Zoom sessions with quizzes and games before the summer holidays.
The Government finally gave permission for Amateur Music Groups to think about rehearsing again on 17 August. There was a little window of near-normality in late August when several NFO players took part in the band for an outdoor Shakespeare event featuring several performances of “Romeo and Juliet “ and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in the woods at Beaulieu. We sat apart in gazebos hoping that the rain would stay away. Since then we have had the Rule of Six, and subsequent clarification that Amateur Music Groups can be exempt from this provided Covid Risk Assessments are completed and there is no social mingling.
It is clear that things have changed and that we have to adapt our expectations at the moment. It is also clear that changes are going to keep happening and we need to be flexible. During the last few months the only change on our website was the notice that Concerts and Rehearsals were cancelled. It is not yet totally clear when we will be able to start meeting again, and even when we do, there is a distinct possibility that things could be closed down again. In the meantime we thought you might like to learn a little more about some of our players, so over the coming weeks we will be sharing some interviews and profiles on our blog that we hope you’ll enjoy."
Alan Ford, NFO leader