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MDSwap embeds the old by bringing in the new!

I am very fortunate with my choir. The vast majority have stuck with me throughout this pandemic. But that hasn’t been achieved without considerable effort on the entertainment front. Suddenly we have to be so many more things than we already were as Choir Leaders, don’t we? I am so very proud of my choir for embracing all the new ways of learning, different projects like the dreaded virtual choir video and so on, and I was all prepared for 2021 with new songs, a bright pinned on smile, full of the mantra that the new year would be the year we sing again. But like you, inside I was holding that feeling of dread. More Zoom, more muted practising, and more quiz nights!

That’s how the idea of MDSwap was born. A collective feeling that we could all do with a helping hand, a different face and voice, and a different approach, no matter how many people we are keeping engaged or not. 130 people joined me the night Ben Sawyer popped in to see us. Having his sunny disposition along for a wonderful twenty minutes a couple of weeks ago is still being talked about by my singers. I am still using the lovely little warm up song he taught us and we are feeling like we are part of a wider singing world. Which is no mean feat when all everyone is doing is sitting in their little space at home, alone.

It was cemented in my mind that I should do this more often with other choir leaders when after fourteen years of getting my guys to shake it out before we warm up our voices, one of my longest standing members said “I loved Ben’s ‘Funky Chicken’ exercise”. What he did was call what I’ve been doing every night for years something different. It made them listen in a different way. It reimagined something simple but vital.

I loved watching their smiling attentive faces. I loved having someone teach me something new. It’s a blessing to have such a wonderful supportive community through Project Get Singing.

Sam Abrahams, La La Choirs


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