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LATEST BULLETIN FROM OUR ‘FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT’

Ray Stearn


I’ve been quiet of late as not much has changed in the last few weeks except that Calderdale has been in a more restricted lockdown and as I write this we expect even tougher restrictions to follow. So I haven’t been out much but then neither has anyone else.


However, the online arts community continues to thrive and this blurs the boundaries of what we used to think of as the virtual world and what we thought was the real world. In one word Zoom. Because of this online tool many arts groups are coming together where they never would have in what was the real world.


My own ukulele group, The Pigeon Pluckers, has welcomed the U3A group from Rochdale to its weekly play along on Zoom and numbers are growing. It’s certainly not the same as being together to play as we do not have the technology of the BBC so we follow a leader on mute because of the time delays but we are getting together and still playing. Most of the members of both groups would never consider travelling the distance involved to physically play together.


Similarly, with our writing groups, we are dropping the geographical boundaries to share workshops online via Zoom, many of these workshops now have members from four or more separate groups logging in to write together. I know these sessions are a real boost to many members who are very restricted by the current situation.


Folk and Poetry nights at the Baum, now entirely from the safety of our own homes, are thriving. So much so that they are held every two weeks instead of every four.


Finally, this week one of my choirs started singing again Out of the Box managed three numbers by following our M.D. online whilst muted on Zoom. Not ideal as you can’t hear anyone else singing but at least we are getting some practice.


Whilst we look forward to a return to some form of normality in the future, the online, virtual world is filling the gap as best it can.

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