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"The Fun Orchestra" Blog

Stay on top of the latest news, events, and announcements from the North Downs Community Orchestra.

Back to in-person rehearsals, updates from lockdown, and our new website

We're back! What a year it has been! We updated our website, made socially-distanced music, and held our first in-person rehearsal since lockdown on 27th May 2021. Read on for our updates and activities during lockdown.

NDCO social distance sectional rehearsal
Socially-distanced strings and percussion sectional

Our first in-person rehearsal since lockdown

Strings and percussion were up first to test out our newest venue, St Peter's Church Hall, Limpsfield. We are still working on layouts but as shown above, we had 12 players attend our first in-person sectional. There's more room once the after school club furniture and equipment is moved away. And 5 people will be able to play on the stage!

It was a joy playing together in person again! Sara took it all really steady while we were adjusting to a world not on Zoom. Next Thursday is woodwind and brass with Richard at St Andrew's Church Hall, Limpsfield Chart.

We will continue to hold socially-distanced, in-person rehearsals for the time being. Those that can are asked to wear masks. For woodwinds and brass, we have a number of clever instrument guard contraptions!

We got creative with homemade instrument guards for the woodwinds!

We would love to see you at one of our COVID-safe rehearsals. Don't forget to book in in advance - if you are short of the relevant details, please get in touch.

What we did during COVID lockdown...

As things are starting to open back up, we thought we would share how we managed to cope during lockdown and keep the orchestra going. We had many zoom rehearsals...

North Downs Community Orchestra rehearses over zoom
Virtual music-making became our new normal!

We also held our virtual 5th birthday party -- during which many of our members performed their "party pieces" for the group -- also on zoom! We had a great time at our re-imagined 5th Birthday. Everyone present was inspired by our brave soloists who presented a really lovely 'concert' at our Virtual 'Party Pieces' evening. Thank you to all who made it such a success!

NDCO saxophone virtual party
Our saxophone player performing for us from his sitting room.

And of course, no birthday party would be complete without a birthday toast and raising our glasses to another year of the North Downs Community Orchestra providing an outlet for musicians to play together and have fun.

NDCO virtual rehearsal

Virtual ensembles

During lockdown, we also experimented with virtual ensembles. One product of our experimentation was a small flute quartet, performing "Danny Boy." It was a new experience for us all to make music in this way!

A new website

As you may have noticed, we have redesigned our website. Same great information, new look and feel that is easier to navigate and find relevant information about the orchestra, the charity, and membership.

With the new site, you'll be able to purchase concert tickets directly on the site and members will be able to book into rehearsals and keep track of their RSVPs more easily with individual accounts.

Looking forward

As we start inching our way back to some semblance of "normality", we are grateful and excited to be permitted to hold indoor socially distanced, masked rehearsals again. Much the same conditions of rehearsing as last autumn except ventilation should be even better. Feeling very sorry for choirs who are restricted to one group of 6!

Our layers of risk assessing have been submitted to the venues we are looking forward to be using until July. They are also on our members-only area on the website.

If you are interested in booking in for a rehearsal, please remember to book in in advance using the members-only area of the website to ensure we don’t find ourselves with more participants than there’s social distancing space for.

If you would like to join us for the first time, please send us a message via our contact form so we can get you on the list as a guest.

Happy music-making!

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If you are looking to join a fun, welcoming group of musicians, get in touch. We would love to meet you at our next rehearsal!

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