It’s been six months since I last had the opportunity to sing in church.
Back in December 2020 we were getting organised for the civic carol service and Christmas services in St Ann’s Church, Dawson Street, and then the big COVID-19 spike in Ireland happened and all singing in church was cancelled.
Christmas is cancelled!
I was personally devastated that I didn’t get to sing at all over Christmas.
In the past I used to moan about having to sing all the same carols again and again. I’ve been singing traditional carols like Hark the herald angels sing and O come all ye faithful since I was a child (so, about 40 years!!) and I know them all from memory.
In a normal year I would probably sing these popular carols dozens of times before the Christmas season was over – and I would be sick to death of them! I would be elated when Christmas Day came around, and I would finally be done with carol singing for another year!
But last December I didn’t get to sing a single note of any Christmas carol. I was so distraught about it that I couldn’t even muster the enthusiasm to sing a few carols at home to myself!
Normally every year, even if I’m away from home for Christmas, I’ll find some opportunity to attend a Christmas concert or service and have a sing. A few years ago when we were away in Australia for several weeks over Christmas, I dragged my wife to Melbourne Cathedral for midnight mass. It’s not that I’m overly religious – it’s just that I do like to get my Christmas carol fix!
And I think the trauma of missing out on Christmas had quite a lasting effect on me – so much so that for the following 6 months I haven’t really found the motivation to even think about singing.
Back in the cassock!
Anyway – fast forward 6 months from last Christmas – and we’re in the middle of summer. And this Sunday was my first opportunity to return to church, put on my cassock, and sing in a service.
COVID-19 restrictions are still in full force. The congregation are allowed back in church, but numbers are limited, people are spaced out, and face masks are mandatory. The congregation aren’t allowed to sing, but in the choir we are allowed one or two singers to help lead the worship.
This Sunday there were two of us, performing a couple of tenor-bass duets. And even though my voice probably sounded dreadful to anyone in church or watching on the Youtube channel, it was lovely to be back in the choir stalls once again.
And hopefully in the coming weeks and months we can gradually expand to have a quartet singing, or even more.
I just long for the day when we can get the full choir back in church, and not have to worry about social distancing and face masks. After all, choral singing is a team sport, and for me church music is at it’s very finest when there is a good SATB choir performing together!