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Dundee Caird Hall: Verdi’s Requiem to be dedicated to victims of Covid

Dundee Choral Union and St Andrews Chorus with conductor Derek Clark. Gareth Jennings/DCT Media

The first choral concert to perform at Dundee’s Caird Hall since the beginning of lockdown is to be dedicated to families affected by Covid.

Dundee Choral Union and St Andrews Chorus will be joining four soloists and the orchestra of Scottish Opera on stage on Sunday November 21 for their first performance in two years.

Performing Verdi’s Requiem, the concert will take place in the same space that just months before, was set up as a vaccination centre.

Caird Hall opera
The show will be dedicated to those who died during the pandemic. Gareth Jennings/DCT Media

Pamela Nesbitt, Dundee Choral Union president, said: “We felt we needed to acknowledge the times we’ve been in.

“The piece itself, Verdi’s Requiem, is about recognising what happens at the end of life.

“We’ve had, sadly, people who passed away during the pandemic.”

Pamela said that everyone was excited to be able to perform again, after feeling pretty isolated for the past two years.

“Everyone is really excited, enthusiastic and relieved to be back,” she said.

Caird Hall opera
This marks the first performance in two years. Gareth Jennings/DCT Media

“This show was meant to happen in April 2020. We were in the last sets of rehearsals with both choirs when March 23 came.

“So certainly from Dundee Choral, we planned just some online zoom sessions just to keep us connected.

“It was a bit strange, but it was more about keeping people connected and keeping in touch with people.

“There’s been a great effort to get everyone back singing. Lots of happy faces at the end of the afternoon.”

Performing slightly differently

However, when the performers come back, it won’t be quite the same as before.

“The biggest issue for us is the social distancing between singers,” Pamela explained.

“We have to have a seating plan for the singers.

Caird hall dundee
The singers will all be socially distanced. Gareth Jennings/DCT Media

“The logistics of getting in, seated and being able to perform is probably the hardest thing we’ve had to deal with.

“People wear masks into rehearsals and in the Caird Hall but don’t have to wear them while singing.

“We will all be much further apart from one another. We take up a lot more space than we would’ve done.

“With the double choir, it’s in the region of 120 singers so we’re using the two jury boxes on either side of the stage as well as the whole stage and the tiered seating for the singers.

They will be performing Verdis Requiem. Gareth Jennings/DCT Media

“Then the front stalls of the seats will be removed and the orchestra will go there. Then Derek, our conductor, will be halfway up the hall with a spotlight.”

However, Pamela added that everyone in the group was excited just to be back together again.

Dundee Choral have been bolstered on by the enthusiasm from members to book a small Christmas concert as well.

The group will be performing their own mini Christmas concert in St Mary’s church on Saturday December 18 at 5pm.

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