In the very early stages of the UK going into our version of lockdown back in April I started reminiscing about happier, more innocent times I spent on summer house parties at Clayesmore School as a member of the Pauline Meetings.
I found myself routinely humming and sometimes singing songs which became immortalised for us regular attendees through our nightly evening sing songs during those wonderful days spent with our friends in one of the most inspiring landscapes in England.
From songs ranging from Old Man River – comparing the hardship of life as an African American in the 1920s to the relentless and uncaring flow of the Mississippi – to more carefree and less meaningful songs such as Teddy Bears Picnic, performances were hopefully delivered with the appropriate gravitas, or lack thereof, for which they were intended.
Around the same time in late March I became aware Basil Moss, a man largely responsible for driving the Pauline Meetings – linked to the St Pauls School Christian Union – through the latter part of the 20th century and early 21st century was seriously ill. Basil or “Baz” as he was affectionately known, was also the mainstay on the piano for sing songs throughout his involvement with the Meetings.
With a physical reunion impossible, and knowing little of the technical world, I wondered if it might be possible to recreate the magic of sing song in the virtual world?
Mercifully, it was. With the assistance of countless friends, some old, some new, we were able to deliver an utterly joyful and sometimes emotional Virtual Sing Song experience for almost 150 past and present officers and friends of the Pauline Meetings at 7.30pm on May 31.
There were six acts in all, including a truly wonderful impression of Basil singing one of his favourite tunes by Olivier Award winner actor Rory Kinnear, who attended the Meetings between 1991 and 1996, and who by sad coincidence lost his beloved older sister Karina to Covid19 in the course of producing the show.
It was at least of some small solace we were able to raise money for the development of a sensory garden to be built at the residential home where Karina had spent much of her adult life during the “live” screening of the Virtual Sing Song.
You can donate at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/for-karina
Personally, like so many experiences in recent weeks and months, the experience of being involved in a project such as this challenged creatively, engaged emotionally and rewarded immeasurably. It really was wonderful to have been a small part of.
By reconnecting with old friends and making new ones for no obvious reason other than having fun, I very much hope all involved found Lockdown Sing Song to have been a beneficial experience.
I for one will never forget it, and I’d like to sincerely thank everybody who made it happen.
– Sam Peters (SPS 1991-96)