It’s strange to think that, under normal circumstances, Hallmark of Harmony would have rounded out our championship year two months ago. We were a few rehearsals into an exciting new programme of songs when things came to an abrupt pause. Hallmark is now, much like the rest of BABS, meeting virtually for online rehearsals, educational sessions, watch parties and quizzes galore!

We have found a new rhythm in life. One fuelled by new songs and the desire to create music and overcome vocal challenges as a community from a far. We did not find this rhythm straight away… As lockdown first set in we hit the ground running! With over 6 Zoom rehearsals a month it became obvious that we couldn’t keep this up for long. Our schedule is just as busy now but with a wider variety of content so things don’t get stale. The guys are getting stuck in with music theory lessons, barbershop documentaries, poetry and tin-whistle performances. All of this is helping to keep our meetings exciting whilst we learn new arrangements, mostly in our own time, in anticipation of singing together again in person.

We thoroughly enjoyed recording Dancing in the Dark for BABSLive and we have similar projects lined up for the future. A big part of Hallmark’s culture is the willingness to sing on your own and receive feedback from your peers. This mindset was encouraged a few years ago when the chorus had a number of evenings with Rob Mance. Since then we’ve been big on individual improvement. So much so that at the final retreat before convention in 2019 every member of the chorus, myself included, had a 1-on-1 coaching session. We were very fortunate to be able to ask a number of friends to help us with this task.

I think that it is because of this culture that the members have thrown themselves into singing over Zoom. They are happy to sing for each other, sing with each other and ultimately send me recordings of themselves to create virtual performances. It’s lovely to see and I’m so glad that they’ve stuck with me during some hard times. We still share a lot of laughs and as much song as we can.

Look out for more music from us in the coming months. We’re keeping our swan song to ourselves for now. We’re actively rehearsing it and can’t wait to sing it for you next year.

Tim Briggs
Musical Director, Hallmark of Harmony