Bury St Edmunds musicians launch online choir
PUBLISHED: 17:08 14 April 2020 | UPDATED: 12:51 17 April 2020
Remote Jelly aims to get people singing during the lockdown and raise money for Bury Theatre Royal
Professional musicians Michelle Parry and Joe Taylor, of Bury St Edmunds, have set up an online choir to support the arts and give people an opportunity to sing together during the Coronavirus lockdown.
Michelle and Joe, who have been best friends for over ten years and perform together in the band Turntable, as well as work on shows and other projects together, were due to get married at Tuddenham Mill on May 26. Due to Coronavirus they have had all their work cancelled, including their roles as musical directors of a production of Annie, which was due to have been performed at Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal.
“Not only is it scary financially but also creatively,” says Michelle. “We thrive on making music with others and the buzz from gigs and shows, from seeing people progress during rehearsals and the joy of producing something for others to sit back, relax and enjoy.
“We had a jam-packed diary from March until the end of the year with private gigs with our band Turntable, ballroom dance events with Roger Chinery and the ballroom dance band, festivals and hotel events with the Joe and Chelle duo, and around two shows a month.”
Now, she says, more than six months of hard work, rehearsals, singing, dancing, acting, tuition and planning Annie are over without the joy of seeing the production come together in the fantastic venue of the Theatre Royal.
“We know many people are struggling with all sorts at the moment and music can be such a vital outlet for people. So, we decided to set up an online choir, and a concert night and an Annie sing-through night to keep everyone connected, have something in the diary and be creative.”
The online choir is called Remote Jelly, a combination of their names – Joe and Chelley – put together by their best friend and choreographer, Heather Couch, who was due to be chief bridesmaid at their wedding. Joe and Michelle are holding regular online rehearsals, with arranged music and recorded backing tracks for remote practise, and they plan to make a recording and video of a Remote Jelly performance
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“We meet online every Monday at 7:30pm to have a sing song and a chat. We have created a Google drive of resources with lyrics, videos and backing tracks we have recorded at home for people to practise with and we intend to create our on virtual choir recording in a few weeks.
“The first rehearsal was fun – a learning curve with glitches and delays due to the internet, but I can honestly say everyone felt uplifted afterwards.” Michelle said they also wanted to help the Theatre Royal and so they’ve asked people to donate money to be in the choir, paying £1 to log in to a Just Giving page. In the first week more than 70 people signed up and they’ve now raised more than £250, with a target of £1,000.
“This is just one of the projects we’re working on. We’ve set up an Annie Cast sing-through so we can continue our passions for the show with the Bury Operatic and Dramatic Society. We’re also performing live on Facebook with our Joe and Chelle duo (jelly vision) on Sundays at 3pm for people to enjoy a free gig.
“We don’t know if this is making any difference to anyone but is certainly helping and distracting us through these strange times.
To find out how you can join or support Remote Jelly go to www.justgiving.com/REMOTEJELLY?utm_id=124