Hartlepool Male Voice Choir forced to cancel Christmas concert as theatres remain shut

Hartlepool Male Voice Choir have been forced to cancel their popular Christmas concert as venues await news on when they will be able to reopen in light of the pandemic.

Thursday, 30th July 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 30th July 2020, 12:44 pm

The concert, a highlight of Hartlepool’s cultural calendar, had been due to take place at The Borough Hall on the evening of Friday, December 18.

But the venue is not taking any external bookings for the foreseeable future and the Government has not yet said when concert halls and live music performance venues will be able to reopen.

Singing in enclosed environments is said to add to the risk of the disease being transmitted.

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Hartlepool Male Voice Choir and musical director David Gibson (front).

Duncan Graham, chairman of Hartlepool Male Voice Choir, said: “We’re desperately sorry because it's a lovely thing to do.

"We knew what songs we were going to be singing and have been practising.

"We were hoping we could do it but were always wary that it wouldn’t happen.”

As well as festive songs, around half the concert's programme features the choir's new repertoire for the following year.

The Borough Hall on the Headland remains closed for the foreseeable future.

With ongoing restrictions on social gatherings, the choir has not been able to meet for its rehearsals at The Corner Flag as usual.

Musical director David Gibson had prepared individual CDs for each choir member's part to be able to practice at home.

"With social distancing we would only be able to get half the choir at most in and singing is highlighted as one of the chief ways of transmitting the virus,” he said.

"Every choir in the country has got this problem. The government have no idea what hardships performers are being put under.

"The artistic side of this country is coming to a dead end.”

Hartlepool Borough Council confirmed it is not currently taking any outside bookings for the Borough Hall due to the Covid-19 situation but added it is keeping it constantly under review.

In a ministerial statement the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said the pandemic “has forced thousands of cultural institutions to close their doors, including theatres, concert halls and live music performance venues across the country.

“Covid-19 will continue to prevent the full reopening of a number of these venues for some time."

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