Members Information

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News from the Chair for 2022/23 season (Summer Newsletter)

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Chair's report for AGM 8th November 2021

Another EPMS season drew to a close in the middle of July this year, a season quite different from anything 
we have had before, and I have had to think quite hard to work out when this season under review actually started and ended, and what the choir managed to achieve. I believe it makes sense to say that the 2020-21 
season started at the beginning of September 2020, but effectively ran through to mid-July 2021, three months longer than usual. I look at what we did achieve in that time, my fourth year as Chair of EPMS, and it is quite 
remarkable, considering that a large part of it was spent in Covid lockdown and little social interaction. 

Musical activities 

As a pre-season action, a telephone survey was conducted by the committee in which every member was 
contacted, to ensure that all members felt engaged with the choir still. As a result of this survey, in September, a proposal was formally put to the membership to commission our Musical Director, Lloyd Buck, to compose 
a piece of music for EPMS. This was taken up extremely enthusiastically and significant monies were donated to fund that commission. EPMS also approached Julia McGuiness (Poet in Residence at Chester Cathedral) 
to write a piece of poetry to accompany the music, in collaboration with Lloyd. By Christmas 2020, Julia had written a beautiful poem which reflects the difficulties of the pandemic, but also marks the coming together 
again of the musical community and the friendships it engenders, with the joy of singing. Lloyd was contracted to deliver the completed piece by June 2021, but taking into account all the factors, the piece will not be 
performed by EPMS until the Spring concert in 2022 at the earliest. 

The choir was then in its own ‘lockdown’ mode, though the annual AGM was held in early October 2020, by 
email, in order to fulfil the legal requirements of our charitable status; all the present committee agreed to
re - stand for election and this was voted on and passed by the membership.  

By mid-October it was clear to the Committee that a tentative plan to have a outdoor Carol Singing session in 
Ellesmere Port in the run up to Christmas, was not going to be possible. So instead, EPMS members agreed, enthusiastically but somewhat nervously, to an experimental ‘Zoom’ Carol Singing Session, just before 
Christmas. This ‘experiment’ was ‘attended’ by nearly 70 members of the choir, and their friends and family, for an hour or so of carolling, and it was a joy to be able to see and wish each other a Happy Christmas, after 
such a dreadful nine months.  

Such was the positive reception of the Zoom Carols experiment that in January the choir embarked on a full 
12 week Zoom rehearsal season. Nearly 50 members signed up for what became the ‘Zoom1’ programme, rehearsing Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’ and ‘The Heavens are Telling’ from Haydn’s ‘Creation’. This culminated in a 
‘concert’ when the choir was ‘accompanied’ by The Academy of Ancient Music, conducted by Christopher Hogwood, and with soloists Emma Kirkby and Judith Nelson, all courtesy of YouTube recordings. 

At the end of that Zoom1 programme, almost everyone involved immediately signed up for a second go, 
‘Zoom2’; over 40 people spent 12 weeks from May until mid-July, starting to learning Mendelssohn’s St Paul, in part with the intention of this becoming a future full concert programme. These two Zoom rehearsal seasons 
served a very valuable purpose of keeping many of the membership of EPMS connected and singing. 

The membership support for the various initiatives organised by the Committee throughout this unusual year 
has been very welcome as it has meant that EPMS has managed to survive the closed ‘Covid’ year. And that membership support is going to be key to the future of EPMS as the world adjusts to a post-Covid reality.

The Committee 

Due to the exceptional circumstances I asked, and all the current committee members agreed to stand again 
for the duration of the closed Covid year. These members were then all duly re-elected in the email AGM. (See list at the end of this document for current Committee Members.) And as last year, The Committee has worked 
very hard to keep EPMS functioning through the season, and this activity has continued beyond the usual season
finish in April. A considerable amount of pre-season work for 2021-2022 has been undertaken during 
the summer months to ensure that EPMS could start again in September 2021. A full Covid Risk Assessment had to be formulated, along with clear guidance on how rehearsals should be conducted. Alongside these 
practical considerations the Committee has started a process of more strategic thinking about the future for
EPMS, which is clearly essential if EPMS is to continue to thrive in changed world.  

I cannot thank The Committee members enough for their ongoing support both to EPMS and specifically to 
me during this past, very challenging year. 

Outstanding matters from 2019-2020 Season 

As documented in last year’s Annual Report, EPMS is in need of a revised governing document to replace the 
existing one, which is brief, over 40 years old and leaves some areas of compliance with current Charity 
Commission rules unclear. Such a revised governing document, which has been ready for presentation to the membership for eighteen moths, will provide EPMS with a governing document fit for purpose in the 21  
Century. Voting on that revised governing document will be one of the key matters addressed as the choir is
able to meet again face-to-face. 

Marian McCarthy
Chair of EPMS
November 2021 


Guidance and Covid Risk Asessment for rehearsals starting 13th September 2021:

Rehearsal Guidance Issue 2: Click Here

EPMS Covid secure rehearsals risk assessment: Click Here


Message from the Chair (August 2021):

It is with great delight that I can give you the good news that EPMS is going to start singing together again, after a break of eighteen months! What a long time that break has been, though the three Zoom ventures we had were a very good way to keep some of us connected.

Now it is time to come together again properly, though clearly there are going to be some changes to how we operate. The Committee met on 14th August to discuss in detail how we will manage proceedings in this changed world. It will be lovely to see you return to singing with EPMS and, in order to help you decide, there are some key details below about how we intend to proceed. I apologise that it is a bit of a long read, but it is very important that you understand our approach.

What are we going to sing?

Handel’s Messiah (Part1, plus the Hallelujah Chorus): a popular piece to ease us in, and also have appeal for a concert audience at Christmas

Mendelssohn’s St Paul: a bit of a challenge, we will also include learning a chorus or two from, (which some of us attempted to learn on Zoom!)

All being well, this will culminate in a concert on Saturday 11th December, venue to be decided later.

Pre-requisites for attending rehearsals? We will require each person attending rehearsals to do the following:

  • Wear a face mask (unless medically exempt) when you arrive for the rehearsal and throughout. You may, however, remove the mask when singing if you want to, but keep it on if you prefer
  • Show proof of double vaccination (NHS App or the little card we were all given at vaccination time)
  • If not double vaccinated, show proof of a negative Lateral Flow Test, carried out within the previous 24 hours
  • Sanitise your hands on arrival

There will be a committee member on the door to record this information and to ensure that you are signed in on the register , which will be our Track & Trace information.

Clearly you must not attend rehearsals if you have a positive test, are feeling unwell or are self-isolating.

How will rehearsals work?

Rehearsals will start at 19.30 (as usual) but will last for 90 minutes only, with just a short comfort break (no 15 minute refreshments and chat session). We will finish at 21.00

  • You must enter the rehearsal hall via the back entrance; the front door will not be open
  • Seating will be well spaced, in a straight line. Once seated, do not wander around!
  • You must maintain 1metre social distancing as far as possible at all times
  • Bring your own drink – hot or cold – with you, plus hand sanitiser
  • Ventilation will be increased, so perhaps bring a comfortable warmer layer
  • Whitby school will be responsible for cleaning the venue

What is the 2021-22 subscription? The Committee has decided to hold the full year subs at £100 (as it has been for the last three seasons) However, as things may change going forward, you will be asked to pay only £50 for this Autumn Season, and we will review the situation as we look at January 2022.

With best wishes