The Bridge Singers’ Video Launch Live “Concert” March 29th 2021

One of my screens of 49. Sue Zoomed in from her car before it started!
My other screen of 49 – still a few more to arrive!

The Bridge Singers have tried a lot of things to keep singing together and being a group since March 2020 when we had our last face-to-face rehearsal. March 29th 2021 was another new thing for us – a live, virtual concert and video launch. We invited some of our friends and families and overall we had 65 screens and over 80 people at the Zoom meeting. The programme notes for the “concert” are at the end of this report, but here are a few clips and recordings of the evening to give you a flavour.

We started with a “practice clap”. Bear in mind that Zoom only records 25 screens maximum at any one time!

Learning to unmute, then clap, then mute all!

Our first item was a world premiere of a setting of mine of some words by poet Ian McMillan – two of his morning tweets. There are a few of these short songs, which will help us sing live on Zoom – it’s still not completely satisfactory, as we demonstrated!!!

We sang the whole song “together” mutes off to demonstrate the three difficulties of choir on Zoom – no synchronization, only a few voices are let through at any one time, the quality of the sound is variable!

We’ve been practising singing the song one phrase at a time with lots of tiny solos, and we demonstrated this next. The Monday before, we recorded our efforts, along with a version of the song and how it will sound when we can all meet up again in person. Here’s a video of those solos along with some footage of our last three Zooms – singing this song; laughing a lot, a saying goodbye at the end of rehearsals.

Silent Early Stroll 1: A Subdued Sky (with lark song)

We then sang along to a few of our favourites. Everyone was muted and sang along in their own homes to a recording of the choir. All songs had an element of silence in the title or lyrics.

Factum Est Silentium by Anerio, recorded in St. Michael’s Church, Felton, July 2016
A Reading by Shirley of Summer Silence by ee cummings
Westlin Winds – one of our Favourite Robert Burns songs. This recording is mixture of the tenors and basses recorded in 2018, and a recently cobbled together couple of verses for the sopranos and altos.

We also sang a new song for us – we’ve been learning it during February and March and several choir members sent in recordings to be edited together. I had 36 tracks in the end, so a good representation of the choir. Here’s a snippet.

The “Silence” bit of Billy Joel’s “And So It Goes”.
A reading by Julie of Silence by Langston Hughes
Our second Factum Est Silentium recording – this setting by Richard Dering and it was of a performance in Brinkburn Priory in 2017 – you can hear audience noise and clapping at the end.
An excerpt from Dylan Thomas’ Under Milkwood read by Shirley

In March, when we had our Top 10 Singalong, Lullaby of Silences came 3rd in the vote, but we decided it was not cheerful enough for what was intended to be a jolly event, so I replaced it with the 11th placed song. This caused a bit of a stir with those who had voted, so I put it in this singalong instead as compensation – I’m very happy to have my songs performed any time, naturally! I found a recording from our performance at Lanercost Priory in October 2019, and Connor sang the first verse live. If you want to know more about this song, click this link!

Connor beautifully sang the first verse of Lullaby of Silences live, before I pressed the button for the rest of the song. His Gran was sitting beside him on the sofa, and no doubt said something very complimentary to him when he finished!
Verse 2 to the end of Lullaby Of Silences from our recording at Lanercost Priory in Cumbria in 2019 – lots of audience noise, but you get the idea!

The main event was the launch of our new lockdown video of Abba’s song “The Way Old Friends Do”. Choir members sent in recordings of their part, photos of themselves with the best or oldest friends or of their happy place, and many also sent in their thoughts about what they miss about choir and what they love about it. You might need to watch it more than once to fully appreciate all the photos and stories.

The Way Old Friends Do, Ulvaeus and Andersson, recorded by The Bridge Singers, March 2021

We then sang the song again with lights out and torches on, if you could. Some of our audience were in the USA, in the middle of the day with sunlight streaming in, others were in Australia before the sun was even up!

Programme Notes

Since March 2020, we have been unable to have any rehearsals, nor performances to invite you to. We have continued to be busy, however: making new recordings and enhancing old ones to produce 30 videos; we have had weekly Zoom rehearsals since the end of last summer; we’ve given a world premiere performance; we’ve sung together and recorded in small groups of six in all manner of unusual places when this was allowed last summer and autumn; we sang together at great distance on the bridge at Christmas; we have contributed to the villages’ marking of Christmas and Remembrance; we’ve had online quizzes and singalongs; and even had a visit from our pal Richard Michael on Burns Night this year. We haven’t yet tried a Zoom concert, though, and so this is the closest we’ll be getting to that!

We will tonight launch our latest video (our 31st ) of the ABBA song, The Way Old Friends Do. Prior to that, we’ll show you a bit about what our rehearsals are usually like, with some “live” singing, some singing along, and some laughter.

Earlier, in February, we had a singalong of ten of our favourite songs from our entire repertoire.. Third in the choir’s poll, was Lullaby Of Silences, which we sang in our Autumn Tour concerts in 2019. We didn’t sing it in February as it was deemed by many to not be cheery enough, but the outcry at this decision was loud, so here we are with it tonight. Not much further down the list of favourites were our two versions of Factum Est Silentium – the word silence appears in the titles of all three of these songs, so that has become our loose theme for tonight’s selection of repertoire. A brief scan for silence in the rest of our repertoire finds Westlin Winds, one of our favourite Robert Burns songs, so that’s made it in too. We’ve also been learning two new songs in 2021, both with silence in the lyrics, Billy Joel’s And So It Goes, and our featured item tonight, The Way Old Friends Do. Cheryl’s been composing some new short songs for us too, and we’ll be singing one of them live!!!


  • Live sing:  Silent Early Stroll 1: Under A Subdued Sky (world premiere performance!) lyrics: Ian McMillan
  • Singalong:  Anerio: Factum Est Silentium (a recording from St. Michael’s Felton, 2016)
  • Reading: Summer Silence by ee cummings, read by Shirley
  • Singalong  Trad./Robert Burns: Now Westlin Winds (a recording from Thropton, 2018)
  • Singalong  Billy Joel: And So It Goes (a new recording, March 2021)
  • Reading Silence by Langston Hughes, read by Julie
  • Singalong:   Dering: Factum Est Silentium (a recording from Brinkburn Priory, 2018)
  • Reading: An excerpt from Under Milkwood by Dylan Thomas, read by Shirley
  • Singalong:  Lullaby Of Silences, live solo: Connor Crowson-Lings (then a recording from Lanercost Priory, 2019)
  • Live video launch:  Ulvaeus/Andersson: The Way Old Friends Do (a new recording, March 2021)
  • Singalong:  The Way Old Friends Do (with lights out and torches)

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