At COMA London we were looking forward, before the lockdown, to an exciting summer project which would have culminated in a concert at Kings Place, but undaunted by having to postpone this we have resumed our regular Tuesday night rehearsals in our new virtual space on Zoom. Matt Hardy, our Music Director, and our ensemble members have been working hard on finding imaginative ways to use the online medium to enhance our musical skills while working on the creation of new works for this novel performance space.
So far our Tuesday rehearsals have concentrated on core pieces from our repertoire with a strong rhythmic element – Philip Cashian’s Meckanik, Michael Nyman’s In C Interlude and Philip Venables’ Dutch Courage. The core of the rehearsal is to play along with recordings of these works, sometimes in versions which have been edited digitally to slow them down a little, while concentrating on working on some of their features which are challenging – such as the complex rhythms of Mechanik.
We have other plans which are taking shape week by week – these include:-
- a compilation of recordings which members will make separately and Matt will then meld together into a single whole – we are trying it out this week with an arrangement of a Bach chorale which Matt has put together for us
- a ‘composers’ group is working on a number of ideas for pieces to be played by the group as a whole which will accommodate the latency issues that inevitably arise with the Zoom meetings software that we use
- we are also encouraging members to contribute to Sheena Phillips’ Constellation project and many have already
We are getting a gratifyingly high attendance at our virtual rehearsals and the feedback has been positive with plenty of ideas for developing them further coming from our members. Keeping the COMA London community going through these potentially isolating times is a priority for us and we seem to be managing this as effectively as we can given the constraints of the online medium: as Matt puts it “It has been great to stay in touch with each other online and work together on some of the core CoMA repertoire. As time is going on we are learning more about how we can make the most of the situation we’re in. Our project to devise a new piece together is taking shape and I’m very excited to see how it develops over the next two months.”
We will, of course, keep you in touch with how these plans develop.
Richard Gartner, Membership Secretary, CoMA London