Fine Voice Academy which has just moved into Portsmouth Guildhall, is a school of music and singing which has continued to meet virtually throughout the pandemic.
Singers from age 10 up to 80 have been singing together over Zoom twice a week, and the group now hopes to boost numbers to make a larger, grander chorus for events on the Guildhall stage.
Founded and led by Simon Long, the group was pleased to find a home in the Guildhall thanks to the help of chief executive Andy Grays.
Singing member Maureen Levesque, aged 70, said: ‘Being able to sing twice a week has been a lifeline during lockdown.
‘Simon has done a brilliant job keeping it all together and managing to put concerts on YouTube to raise money for charities. It is great seeing other members on Zoom but cannot wait to see them all in person.’
Since the first lockdown in March 2020, Fine Voice members have been learning quite a lot of new songs to perform together over Zoom and having fun together despite being apart.
Memories of the lockdown include the group stopping to clap at 8pm during Thursday’s rehearsal and learning the NHS Here’s to the Heroes anthem.
Amanda Hazzard, 60, said: ‘I’ve enjoyed singing on Zoom, it helped me get through lockdown, you can forget about things and sing.
‘If you're feeling a bit down it’s nice to be able to talk to friends who know what you're going through.’
For some it has been the highlight of their week thanks to the connection with their friends, helping with support for people through the lockdown and raising nearly £3,000 for various charities.
Pam Hobbs, 61, said: ‘Thank goodness that I was able to continue to sing in the choir during the last year!
‘The technology challenges created lots of laughter, support, kindness, sharing of stories for both the young and those with more life experience. Thank you to Simon and the Fine Voice family.’
The group is looking forward to being able to meet in person, as well as finding opportunities to perform as a chorus again.
Visit finevoice.co.uk for more information.