CHOIRS and Covid don’t mix. Before it was really a thing, we decided to halt rehearsals - for a short while we thought- until things became clearer, writes Anne Vetch.

Droplets versus aerosols, social distancing, meeting in public areas, the rule of six, however, soon made choral singing a thing of the past.

A community choir of over 40 people, many of them vulnerable, has been a significant part of our Yorkshire Dales community for the last 13 years.

We enjoy singing and preparing for concerts which are appreciated and well attended by a local, national and even an international following. However, this is not our principal purpose.

Rural communities as isolated as ours is, must make their own entertainment and create a distinctive social life and support network. Buckden Singers is an important part of this. A weekly get together is a significant part of the lives of many of us: learning new material stretches our mental capacity, breathing correctly helps the lungs and heart, laughing together lifts our spirits, a weekly commitment gives focus to what may otherwise be a lonely and solitary week, and producing music of high quality raises our sense of pride and self – esteem. All of these were, and still are, threatened.

We have happily found ways of continuing our weekly rehearsals and get togethers using the miracle that is modern technology. We rehearse virtually where we can see everyone but hear no-one. Latency - when sound travel is delayed- makes singing together impossible, but we have not been deterred. We record individual tracks ourselves using a backing track and all is magically mixed by a local freelance professional, Richard Reeday, who is very generous with his time.

Our Christmas concert is in the final stages of preparation as I write. Our audio visual material is being used to support online and real time worship in the Parish of Upper Wharfedale and Littondale, St Margaret’s in Threshfield, to produce a bespoke concert for the residents of Threshfield Court, and of course our own Buckden Singers online concert.

Of course, it is not the same. We miss the banter, the hugs, collective pride when we perform well, the parties, the live finished product. but it is better than not singing at all. In this way we can keep our community choir going until such time as we can meet properly again.

A positive mindset during this pandemic is hard; singing at Christmas helps just a little bit.

Christmas concert online details available from Saturday December 19 at 7pm at: