During 2020, we held weekly rehearsals from home, directed online by Nigel Perrin. For a few weeks in autumn 2020 we were able to hold limited ‘live’ rehearsals, until tighter restrictions returned. This meant a return to online rehearsals which continued until Nigel formally retired from EFC on 10th February.

In 2020 a 'virtual' choir was assembled from individual voices singing at home, combining with Peter Adcock at the piano. These audio recordings have been augmented by a montage of photos of the 'real' choir in performance.

Click here for the motet 'Ave Verum Corpus' by Mozart

Click here for the motet 'Dona Nobis Pacem' by J S Bach.

To keep everyone actively involved after Nigel’s retirement from EFC, we ran a highly successful series of on-line Masterclasses with invited guests during which we have:
• Renewed the choir’s acquaintance with Scott Stroman who gave us some fascinating insights in rhythm and harmony in choral jazz;
• Worked with Matt Cook (Director of Music, Millfield School) to prepare for a virtual video recording of Handel’s 'Hallelujah Chorus';
• Shared in a fascinating exploration by Aidan Oliver of the history and form of Holst’s ‘Hymn to Jesus’;
• Learned from Tom Seligman about the history and development of western vocal musical notation and the way that this influenced performance.
• Spent a wonderful evening in the company of international baritone Roderick Williams, who told us about his life and career in music, with some thoughts on an international career with the challenges of climate change;
• Heard from local Exeter choirmaster and vocal coach and former EFC tenor Colin Rea about the physiology of singing, and techniques for overcoming common problems and challenges with the voice;
• And last but certainly not least we met Linda Hirst, of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, who shared from her wide experience about preparing the body and voice to sing, the quality and colours of vocal sound, vocal harmonics and how to make them, and finally discussed choirs - their differences, challenges and joys.

These Masterclasses have been invaluable to the choir, not just in keeping us together as a group through Covid restrictions, but also in developing our thinking about choral music and the way we make it.

In May and June 2021 we worked with guest conductor Laurence Blyth to prepare for an informal outdoor concert (in a private garden) for Making Music Day 2021 on June 21st. We began by studying the various pieces on Zoom, and originally planned some Covid-secure indoor rehearsals. Sadly, these were cancelled due to a change in Government guidance but we were able to hold one outdoor rehearsal. To add insult to injury, rain meant that the concert was cancelled. We were able to reschedule the concert, which finally went ahead on June 30th, shown in the photograph above.

A virtual recording of one of these pieces – John Rutter’s ‘The Lord bless you and keep you’ can be watched here.