Creative Chat ‘n’ Blog – Sally Rose

Singer and Music Leader Sally Rose reflects on her podcast chat with interviewer David Johnson and digital artist Michelle Brace. As part of a podcast series of 8 regional artists discussing the challenges that they have faced during Lockdown and what they have learnt as a result.

June 2021

Listen to Sally’s podcast episode here.

What has lockdown meant for me?

I will be honest: to begin with, I didn’t miss the frantic journeys to and from the car, arms laden with P.A. equipment, with bags… bags of songbooks, bags of instruments (shakers, foot tambourines, hand bells, boomwhackers), bags of tea (3 kinds of), coffee, milk, squash (2 kinds of) and biscuits (numerous varieties).  Then came the realisation that all my future work and income had gone. 

Gone!  

At first, I tried to continue as best I could – positively – and like so many , I spent time recording videos and posting online.  I wanted to continue to reach out to the communities that I had established over the previous 4 years.  I wanted them to have something to refer to – a kind of guiding light in the face of growing darkness. Listening to the birdsong in the garden, throughout last summer, I spent wondered for hours thinking about the people who I no longer saw; those with whom I no longer had a physical connection; those whose collective voices had been cruelly silenced by an unknown killer.  

Unfortunately, the very nature of my work meant that not everyone could access and interact with online content. This got to me and gradually, I eased back.  Sometimes, for no reason at all, I felt the unstoppable, overwhelming urge to weep, tears rolling down my cheeks with the realisation that I could not connect fully with others through the internet.  I missed connecting in person: in real time.  Several people who attended my groups have lost their lives since last March. 

If they do return, my communities will not be as I knew them.

When lockdown eventually lifted last summer, the March Can’t Sing choir met up for several outdoor, Covid 19 secure, singing sessions. On those days, my heart burned as brightly as the summer sun and tears flowed down my cheeks, yet again, as I heard the collective voice soar as one with the buzzing bees overhead.  It is something I will never forget! 

People sometimes ask me why I lead people who ‘can’t sing’.  Well, all I can say is that the very act of singing is a magical thing.  Having a focus, having a purpose, connecting, breathing as one, having a go, laughing when things go wrong, being proud of something that you achieve, lifting depression, raising self-esteem, learning to use your body to sing, all brings people together in no other way that I know of… and it is so worth it!

As I reflect, I know that keeping my passion for singing is one thing that I will do.  There is a new dawn on the horizon, yet the world on which it will shine is still uncertain.  I still have my moments. I only hope that singing will rightly take its place, centre stage and re-unite communities once more.

Written by singer, Sally Rose.

Listen to Sally’s podcast episode here.

Read about Sally and the March Can’t Sing Choir here.