An update from Christopher Monks

In response to the restrictions of Coronavirus, at the end of March Armonico Consort’s Founder and Artistic Director, Christopher Monks, outlined how we were adapting our work and moving our tried-and-tested singing workshops into the virtual world to enable us to support schools, children at home, care homes and those caring for dementia sufferers.

The response has been overwhelming with kind and positive messages, and generous support for our emergency fund appeal of £55,000.  We thank you sincerely.

Here’s what we’ve been doing:

  • Thanks to our generous supporters we have commissioned six freelance team leaders

  • We’ve started live weekly ‘Sing N Shine’ sessions (Wednesdays at 2pm) engaging hundreds of teachers and pupils, especially vulnerable children, nationwide. They’re produced by our workshop team leader Patrick Stockbridge and are open to all via our Armonico Consort YouTube channel on Wednesdays at 2pm.

  • Live weekly workshops and pre-recorded sessions are being run with most of our Voice Squad workplace choirs, connecting hundreds of staff working from home.
  • At care homes, residents forced into isolation including those suffering from illnesses such as dementia, are being reached by our team creating specialist virtual interactive singing workshops.

  • After-school AC Academy choirs have restarted for members with closed sessions taking place via Facebook Live delivered by Head of Education, Gaynor Larkin

  • International baritone Roderick Williams delivered coaching sessions for our seven AC Academy Scholars

Looking ahead:

Although government restrictions regarding COVID-19 mean our AC Academy Does the Royal Albert Hall will sadly no longer take place, we are in discussions with the RAH to re-arrange the date.  Meanwhile, we are planning a ‘virtual RAH’ event on 3 June via our YouTube channel.  Details to be announced.

We are also developing mechanisms for our professional singers to engage as teachers and coaches, commissioning a piece of music for our AC Academy Scholars to record and planning for the autumn when, we hope, our concerts will return.

Meanwhile, our staff are well and in good spirits.  Their imagination, courage and commitment are fantastic and we owe much of this success to them and their willingness to adapt to keep relevant in these fast-changing times.

If you, or someone you know, might be able to help contribute to the development of our work, we would be immensely grateful.  Please visit our Donate page.  It is vital we keep the arts strong in this time and it is fascinating how so many now acknowledge how important it is to the life of a human.

WATCH Christopher’s update