MP pledges help to amateur choirs

Wealden MP Nus Ghani has met virtually with amateur choir leaders to discuss impact of current restrictions

Amateur choirs across the area have been unable to restart group singing, despite the recent easing of restrictions.

As non-professional singers, amateur choirs are excluded from the easing of restrictions across the culture sector and are unable to meet indoors in groups of more than 6.

The restriction is making it difficult for choirs across Wealden to meet and rehearse, even though many have obtained bigger rehearsal spaces which would allow for social distancing and the implementation of other measures.

Representatives from Ashdown Singers, Hailsham Voices, Fletching Singers, Crowborough Choral Society, Mayfield Festival Choir, Heathfield Choral Society and South Downs Singers were part of the meeting.

Nus said: “We are so lucky that we have so many fabulous choral groups in Wealden. They are key to local communities, providing not only a much-needed wellbeing boost to residents who have been self-isolating since last spring, but also raising valuable contributions to our local charities each year though their performances. I trust that they are taking every precaution to conduct their rehearsals in a Covid-safe way and they should be treated the same as professional musical groups and allowed to perform. Wealden choirs work with and employ professionals such as musical directors, accompanists, soloists and orchestras, so the catch-all label ‘amateur’ fails to understand how these groups function.

I will be making representations to the Department of Health regarding the matter and as Member of the Covid Recovery Group, I will work with my Parliamentary colleagues to urge Ministers to get this matter resolved.”