The feeling of grief was unexpected but profound. I was in the city, wearing my favourite rainbow face mask, when I realised that I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. It was Sydney Philharmonia Choir’s first concert since March, a socially-distanced chamber version of Faure’s Requiem, and I’d blown it. I found a shelter from the rain and made apologetic calls.
Ten minutes later, a welcome message popped up on my phone. “Second concert at 5pm. Come to the side door.” Saved by public demand.
I replay this scene to give a sense of how rare and precious the prospect of hearing a choir sing live has become in this strange moment. And to reflect on the essential power of communal music-making. As Joni Mitchell says, you don’t miss what you got till it’s gone. Singing together is such a universal human activity and its banning, for public health reasons, has felt like one of the cruellest blows. Breaking the silence is an act of hope and resilience.
No surprise, then, to see St Andrew’s full by 4.45pm....