Handwashers’ Newsletter 23rd August 2020

(If illustrations appear blurred, just click on them and they’ll come up all bright and shiny. Click again to go back to the golden prose. Ed.) 


As we cannot meet in person for the AGM this year, we will carry out the necessary business by an extended process involving e-mail/post and an on-line meeting. The on-line meeting will need to be ‘attended’ by a minimum quorum of 20 members to ensure that our AGM is valid, but all members will have the opportunity to cast their votes on the resolutions and the election of committee members by e-mail/post before the meeting. We shall need to receive nominations for the committee by 13 September so that we can prepare and send a voting paper to members the following week (along with the usual AGM papers). The on-line meeting will use Zoom and will give members the opportunity to join using their home computer or mobile device, either in video/audio or audio only. More information on this will be provided later. The following table summarises the way the AGM process will work and the key dates involved.


The Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary and Membership Secretary are offering themselves for re-election for the coming year, but our Communications Coordinator will be moving out of the area and is therefore tendering her resignation. Both ordinary members of the Managing Committee have served their maximum term of three years so will not be eligible for re-election. We have been operating below our committee complement for several years and it is critical that, just to stand still, we need at least three new committee members to be elected this year. There are undoubtedly members within our ranks who have the talent, experience and enthusiasm needed to manage and shape the future of the Society.  If you are one of them, your Society needs you now, so please come forward!

Nominations, with the consent of the nominee, should be sent by e-mail to the Secretary, Graham Shearn (g.shearn@btopenworld.com), before 13th September. (To comply with our data protection policy, If you wish to make contact with a member – either to discuss nominating them or to ask them to nominate you – but don’t have their contact details, let us know and we can then ask them to contact you.)

A LETTER FROM WARWICK Dr Cole reflects on 150 days of lockdown:

My daughter Sophie has been diligently keeping a lockdown diary and yesterday she announced that we’d reached Day 150. Where has the time gone? 150 days is a long time, and although I’ve found it best not to dwell too much how radically things have changed since March, it is a milestone of a kind. And so here are a few reflections from the perspective of a freelance musician.

Initially, lockdown seemed to be the perfect opportunity to get on with all those projects that one wanted to do but didn’t have time for: getting super-fit, doing lots of practice, jobs around the house. Inevitably, those ambitions have been diluted, but one of the most challenging things has been having all work cancelled or postponed for 12 months. It seems that suddenly everything that we have aimed for during our whole working lives is of no value. Lots of my colleagues have found this very difficult on many levels. The need to find an income quickly has meant many have changed tack: one friend has been stacking boxes in Morrisons, another has started to retrain as a baker, one as a Marie Kondo consultant, and another as a landscape gardener’s labourer. These are all immensely talented people who have spent years honing their skills which they can’t now use. (They’ve all accompanied Cirencester Choral Society in the past.) I suspect a number of them won’t go back to music.

Apologies if this doesn’t sound very cheerful (as I say, best not dwelt on). On a more positive note, being forced to reconsider one’s career has led me to do some crazy things: last week I took my cello up a mountain to play Bach.

 It was a peculiar thing to do, and certainly not on my initial list of lockdown activities. But it was oddly uplifting despite the strange looks from fellow walkers. One commented ‘You’ve done well to bring your guitar up here!’ And I’ve tried to improve my modest skills as an organist. But perhaps the oddest thing was to spend five weeks working on a painting. It suddenly struck me that years ago we used to do harmony and counterpoint exercises, trying to imitate the techniques of great composers, learning by doing as it were. So, I thought I’d try painting a copy of an old master to see what one could learn. It was an interesting thing to do, if slightly nutty. But it filled up a large chunk of time. Lockdown has been a bit weird.

  By the way, does anyone want to buy a Canaletto?

(And here, demonstrating, his virtual virtuosity is Warwick Cole (cello) accompanied by Warwick Cole (organ) playing Flor Peeters: Aria (Op 51): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_xBcN7_ziI   Ed.)

VIRTUAL SINGING Thank you Jenny Hall for this take on singing to your computer:


PIANISSIMO SOLO! The attached report in Friday’s press could be helpful to small, socially distancing-capable choirs but offers little immediate promise to amateur choral societies. (Even if they have Pooh and Piglet as members!)

 AND FINALLY . . . Jane Read reminds us of the question on all our lips . . . . . . . . . . .and the answer!


 We still need contributions from more members to keep this show on the road! Ed. ( timp470@btinternet.com )