How to get singing with a festive digital choir led by top talent

Opera North has put together a special festive version of its From Couch to Chorus digital choir – and anyone can take part.

Ideal for singers who are missing their usual choral sessions, From Couch to Chorus: The Festive Edition is also suitable for beginners who would like to try and master some operatic repertoire from the comfort and privacy of their own living rooms.

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From Couch to Chorus: The Festive Edition will comprise five weekly sessions led by a professional choral director over Zoom, with input from members of the Chorus of Opera North.

Each one-hour session will be s prepared for four different voice types - soprano, alto, tenor and bass. No previous experience or ability to read music is required, and the Lifelong Learning team will be on hand to help people ensure they join the right group.

From Couch to Chorus will include excerpts from La boheme (photo: Richard H Smith)

For those who feel in need of a greater challenge, The Festive Edition has also been adapted to include a new Fast Track option where singers of all voice types will come together for two evening sessions with the chance to progress at a faster pace.

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By the end, everyone will be able to sing excerpts from Puccini’s much-loved La bohème.

In addition, the soprano and alto singers will have learnt the sublime Evening Prayer from Humperdinck’s Hansel & Gretel, while the tenor and bass voices will be feeling suitably festive having mastered Sullivan’s The Marquis de Mince Pie. The final session will bring all the singers together for an online festive concert, featuring the operatic repertoire they have been taught alongside a selection of Christmas carols.

More than 2,000 people took part in the summer edition of the choir.

Jacqui Cameron, education director at Opera North, said: “The popularity of our original From Couch to Chorus sessions in the summer proved just how many people were missing their usual choir meet-ups at a time when the wellbeing benefits offered by group singing were most needed. We’re delighted therefore to be able to offer everyone another opportunity to be part of a virtual choir this year.

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“One of the great advantages of offering sessions digitally is that people can access them whatever their circumstances.

“With the Festive Edition, we’re looking forward to sharing some operatic repertoire, alongside more traditional seasonal fare, with singers of all abilities wherever they live.”

A variety of online resources will be used to help people master the basics of opera quickly and easily, whether they have previously sung with a group or not. To make it as accessible as possible, all sessions will be ‘pay-as-you-feel’.

Anyone wishing to participate will need to register online. The sessions will be held on Wednesday and Thursdays over five weeks from Wednesday November 11, with a culmination concert being held online on Monday December 14.

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