It has been wonderful to be able to keep in touch with so many members during the pandemic period – whether it has been by telephone, cards and letters or in our weekly virtual sessions sent out by email. RtS members have learnt various new technical skills in the making of weekly videos and we have continued our programme of weekly themes (just taking a break for school holidays). We have sung about lots of different things:

 

Songs with names in them (we found that there were a lot more names at the beginning of the alphabet!)

Flora and Fauna

Love and Marriage

Royalty

Wales, England

Household Maintenance

Country and Western

Seas and Rivers

Colours

 

Of course, it’s not the same as being together in person, but we hope that the day when we can meet again is not too distant, now that restrictions are beginning to ease. Maureen wrote about this in the first ever Ode to Remember that Song (see below). In the meantime, here are some photos of RtS members who have have had some fun singing and speaking to their computers/tablets /mobiles in the making of our weekly singalong videos.

 

Rita with daughter Lesley (and toy cat, Barney), Maureen, Jim, David, Barbara, Jan and Daphne. The photo of Daphne was part of a thank you video to Marian, our gifted crafter of handmade birthday cards, which are so appreciated by RtS members.

 

And there’s also photo of RtS member, Edna, who celebrated her 101st birthday in January 2021- she’s holding a jigsaw made from the photo of her 100th birthday celebration in 2020. Colin and daughter, Sarah, were so pleased to be able to celebrate Colin’s birthday in March.

 

 

 

What a different Christmas 2020 was for everyone! At RtS we decided to try and bring some Christmas cheer to all our members by producing our very own CD and accompanying booklet. This special project was a tremendous demonstration of team work: lots of RtS volunteers (and even some of their grandchildren!) were involved in making distanced recordings of carols and the final number on the CD ("We Wish You a Merry Christmas") featured the "RtS Christmas Chorus", made up of RtS volunteers, members and carers. It's fair to say that everyone involved learnt new skills in the process! We are extremely grateful to Delphine Jones (Topics - the Creative Partnership) for the design and printing of the lovely booklet and the CD sleeve and to Phil Silver (MTS Duplication, Cardiff) for the production of the CD.  

 

 

As well as our Christmas project, we also had a "Christmas Special" virtual session on 15th December, with videos of Christmas numbers recorded by our RtS volunteers, as well as a guest appearance by RtS friend and professional singer, Rachel Marsh.  One of our volunteers appeared as Father Christmas and set the proceedings off with a resounding "Ho-Ho-Ho" and this was followed by action songs, a poem, cheerily jolly carols and peacefully calm carols. Here are some photos to give a flavour of that virtual event!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although we can still only "meet" via the internet, telephone or letter, Remember that Song activities continue to keep us connected with one another!

The Autumn session began for some of us right at the beginning of September with an unusual AGM, held via Zoom. It was lovely to see one another, and (unusually for most AGM meetings!), we concluded our meeting by singing Edelweiss.

The first virtual session on 8th September was in honour of Remember that Song’s fifth birthday. In advance of this occasion, all members had received a special RtS birthday card and a sing-along CD of songs from various decades. The theme of our first session was “Celebration and Friendship” and seven volunteers (Jim, Andrew, David, Ray, Jan, Maureen and Daphne) were involved in singing “Happy Birthday”: they each recorded themselves singing it at home and then the recordings were ‘mixed’ to make it sound like the RtS team choir!

Members continue to keep in touch with one another by telephone and "snail mail", as well as through our virtual sessions and it’s been great to have lots of input during September and October from various members of RtS … and their dogs. Maureen kindly does a video a Quiz for us on alternate weeks, with Daphne doing a warm-up video and Jan making videos of individual songs for us. When the theme of the week was “Animals”, Jan’s dog, Reuben, kindly introduced the song How much is that doggy in the window in a video demonstration of a wagging tail - a video which received a record number of hits.

It was lovely to see Barbara’s smiling face welcoming everyone to the session on “Autumn, Harvest and Food”, which also included a really lovely treat – a video of Jim, accompanied by Andrew, singing Autumn Leaves. For the warm-up section of this virtual Harvest Festival, Daphne had set up a table of harvest produce and was gaily practising the warm-up in a song involving a carrot, when her dog (chocolate Labrador, Winston) dived in and pinched the carrot.

Other themes have included “Story Time” and “School Days” – both topics led to lots of lovely suggestions from members, as well as photographs of impressive school reports and prizes. A special highlight of the session on “School Days” was provided by Welsh operatic baritone, Arwel Hugh Morgan, who made a video for us of Bing Crosby’s Swing on a Star… which fitted in with our “Schooldays” theme: And by the way, if you hate to go to school, you may grow up to be a mule... Arwel has sung principal roles with the English and Welsh National Opera Companies, performing in operas all over the world; roles have included Bartolo in Barber of Seville, Snug in Midsummer Night’s Dream, Fabrizio in Thieving Magpie.

Forthcoming sessions in October will be about “Fashion” and “Songs that Cheer Us Up” and some very special activities are planned for Christmas, so watch this space!

 

 

 

    Barbara says "Hello" to everyone

 

 

       One of Jan's songs on the theme of "Animals"

 

    Guest appearance by Arwel Hugh Morgan

 

 

 

   Daphne's Dog Steals the Carrot in the Harvest session

 

 

   Jim and Andrew perform "Autumn Leaves"

 

 

 

   One of Maureen's Quizzes

 

Government regulations regarding the Corona Virus lockdown continue to be changed periodically, but our weekly gatherings at St Thomas must remain suspended for the time being. Rest assured that we will start activities again just as soon as government regulations allow and we are certain that things are safe for members and volunteers.

In the meantime, the committee and volunteers remain busy on behalf of members, with a weekly 'singalong' (with videos, photographs, messages) emailed to those who do use the internet and phone calls, letters and cards for those who don't. The themes of our virtual singalong emails since the lockdown began have included Birds, Birthdays, Cars, Sailing and VE Day. Our VE Day session featured recollections by members of their VE Day memories as children, or recollections of what their relatives had done during World War II.

A particularly popular theme at the end of May was 'Musical Instruments', featuring some of the musicians who volunteer for the group (see below for some photographs which were included in that week's activities).

Our weekly virtual sessions will continue until the end of July and will include an "Old Time Music Hall" (with a guest video appearance by opera singer, Alison Kettlewell) and "Last Night of the Proms (with a guest video appearance by opera singer, Rachel Marsh). There will be a break for the month of August and we will resume virtual sessions in September.  

The final song of our VE Day session in May was "We'll meet again" ... and we all look forward to that day! 

 

Volunteer, David. plays the flute

 

Volunteer, Daphne, plays the clarinet

 

Volunteer, Alastair, plays the French Horn

 

Volunteer, Jan, plays the guitar