AFTER her Singing For All choir had everyone singing I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing at A Night To Remember at York Barbican, now Jessa Liversidge wants to reach the world to sing online.
The York singer, entertainer and singing group tutor, leader and inspiration is going virtual in response to these Coronavirus lockdown days.
“Going from running seven different singing groups a week, plus other sporadic ones, to having to cancel them all, I was faced with a big challenge,” says Jessa. “But I’ve been buzzing with ideas to keep people singing and to keep their spirits up in these strange times and I have a lot planned.”
Not only planned but coming to fruition already too. “I held my first virtual choir session on March 18, mainly Easingwold folks but some extras, including some singing leaders from all over, who came along to check out a session from a singer’s perspective,” says Jessa.
“We did it again last night, building an online community choir with people from Easingwold, Helmsley, York, and even other parts of the country – people who knew me from elsewhere.”
How does it feel, performing together across the ether in our new social-distancing, stay-at-home world? “It is, of course, very different to a real in-person choir, but very uplifting and great fun,” says Jessa. “The good news is that everything is on screen, so you don’t need to provide the lyrics!
“I’ve had some fantastic feedback from people too; the best quotes being ‘A wonderfully positive hour’ and ‘On a challenging day, when it felt hard to be bright and cheerful, this was just a perfect end to the day. It was great to let someone with a really joyful personality take you on a different type of musical journey, a real sharing of community spirit’”
Jessa intends to run these sessions weekly on Wednesday evenings at 7pm. “People will need to contact me on 07740 596869 or email me at email@example.com to find out how to join,” she advises.
She has started up York Military Wives Choir sessions too online, the first one being held on March 19 for one of 70 such choirs across the country.
“I’m also setting up some free open-to-anyone sessions, starting with a live stream Singing For All session on YouTube that I held on Monday morning this week at 11am: the time the Easingwold Singing For All usually meets,” Jessa says.
“I’m so worried about some of the group as Singing For All has been a lifeline to so many, and lots of them are now isolated in more than one way, so this is important for them.”
Not only Easingwold Singing For All took part this Monday morning. “We had people joining in from their living rooms, again from across the country, and that singing session is now available on You Tube,” says Jessa. “Hundreds of people have watched it already, and we had people joining in as families and even with three generations. Hopefully these sessions will now happen every Monday morning.”
A further Singing For All virtual session will be running on Tuesday mornings at 11am, this one on Zoom, set in motion last Tuesday. To take part in these interactive sessions, you will need to ring or email Jessa.
She hatched one other project, abruptly halted by the Covid-19 lockdown’s dictum on social distancing, banning gatherings of more than two people. “I was going to try out some very spread-out, non-contact park sings,” says Jessa.
“Inspired by the Italians singing from their balconies, I thought this was the nearest we could get to it, but that has had to fall by the wayside. Instead I’m going to record myself singing outdoors, put that on social media and then people can sing along to that.”
Anything else still to come, Jessa? “Yes, youth choirs.” Watch this space…and keep watching your space too, two metres apart; you know the drill by now.