Many of our regular audience are members or former members of choirs, orchestras and ensembles which use SPAL's loan service and some are in playreading, drama and musicals societies too. Plus, our churches are the rehearsal venues for Leatherhead Choral Society, barbershop group The Downsmen, and the Surrey Philharmonic Orchestra. Although Leatherhead Concert & Arts Society is not a SPAL user the collection is close to our hearts.
This would have been our 9th year of lunchtime concerts in Leatherhead's churches. With their closure we have had to adapt. We are a fairly mature bunch, so we are going to be careful well after lockdown ends.
Instead of live concerts we have gone online. We put up a selection of YouTube video links to performances that fit our usual concert profile. We are also taking advantage of the opportunity to listen to larger forces than would fit in the churches. We can hear part of a concerto with full orchestra rather than a piano reduction. We can listen to bigger organs than are found in Leatherhead. A brass band instead of a quartet.
Each Tuesday we email our 400 followers to tell them what we are preparing, and then, early on Thursday morning off goes the email with the link to the day's concert webpage.
We have been adding video links to our concert webpages since 2014. Back then one of our staunchest supporters became unwell and told us she was missing the concerts. At first we sent her links to videos and then realised more people might enjoy a YouTube concert, especially if illness, caring commitments, or work, prevented them from coming along at lunchtime. Now we always put videolinks on our webpages.
With regulars (that we know about) in Nottingham, Blackburn, and the Netherlands, Leatherhead's Lunchtime Concerts are likely to run both live and video even after we have all had COVID vaccinations. Right now, we are planning how we will take part in October's Mole Valley Arts e-Live Festival.
Listening alone is never the same as attending a live concert. We are doing what we can until it is safe to get together again. Imagine the happy faces when that happens!
List of weekly video concerts: musicinsurrey.co.uk
Written by Peter Steadman