CHORISTERS from across Bradford have spoken of how singing in their virtual choir has helped them through the pandemic.

They believe their regular online rehearsals have helped them remain cheerful, and ‘met up’ once again for Christmas.

“Carrying on with the choir through Zoom has been very helpful,” says Sue Purkis, of Baildon, who has been a member of the 80-strong Skipton Choir. for ten years. “You have to be disciplined to practice on your own so it gives you some motivation and focus.

“We sing light-hearted, popular songs so they always raise my spirits. I often have a dance around when practicing - provided I have the house to myself, at the time when my husband is out on his ‘daily constitutional’.”

Sue, of Baildon, added: “We have been very lucky as our musical director, David Weale, has carried on with rehearsals through Zoom. We have met as a full choir or in voice groups so have been able to keep in touch with many choir members in spite of lockdown.”

Skipton choir hit the headlines in summer when David and his sister Rebecca Luetchford wrote ‘We Will Sing Again’ in aid of Yorkshire-based charity Dementia Forward - on YouTube.

The choir also arranged virtual performances to raise money for Manorlands Hospice.

Said Sue: “Those performances have given us something to aim for as well as doing something worthwhile. Recording our own tracks for the “virtual” performances was certainly something new and a challenge.

“Being able to continue singing in the choir has been very important for me and everyone else during this period. Not only have we sung but we have carried on with committee meetings and also organised quizzes and general meetings.”

As well as whole choir meetings David rehearses with different voice groups.

Choir member Carol Squire, of Barnoldswick, said: “It has been a lifeline. for so many people. Quite a few members had to socially isolate or had medical problems so to be able to see everyone has been wonderful. It has helped us all keep in touch and from a health point of view singing is so beneficial."

She added: "This period has also taught us a lot about technology. I would not have dreamed of using Zoom and now it is second nature.”

Jan Turner, of Riddlesden, joined the choir seven years ago. She said: “Although it is not the same as being together, still feeling you are part of something is important. And there’s nothing like belting out a tune to give you a lift - especially when no-one hears if you hit a wrong note."

She added: “David works hard to keep it interesting so some weeks we will practice with our own Alto voice group or we might combine with the Sopranos or Tenors and Basses, or meet with the whole choir.”

She added: “Technology has played a big part in keeping us going. Many of us had never heard of Zoom before the first lockdown but most people have adapted really well.

“Meeting remotely keeps the identity of the choir going, plus some members have led quizzes which helps retain the fun element. It has helped to keep everyone in touch, motivated and given a focus."