Singers missing the thrill of live performance united this week to sing Over the Rainbow — a song with particular significance as the nation celebrates its key workers — for an online audience.

The community choir, which brings together people from across the region, was set to perform the work in a concert of ‘Silver Screen Showstoppers’ at the O2 Guildhall, Southampton, alongside Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO), in early-April. The concert was cancelled, but the choir has continued to meet weekly, with singers performing from home throughout the lockdown period.

Pete Harrison, Musical Director of BSO Voices, said, “BSO Voices exists to unite people through a love of singing and in these strange and introverted times it felt natural to join together, albeit physically distant, in song.  I hope that members will continue to find music a comfort as we meet online”

BSO Voices is a vibrant community choir and is a part of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) family. The group of over 140 singers rehearses weekly in Southampton, giving at least three performances each year with the professional orchestra. Choir members do not audition or need to be able to read music, but instead have an open mind and be willing to celebrate music through the joy of singing.

“Working for the NHS in the past month has felt like a whirlwind, but it’s helped to keep in touch with BSO Voices — we talk about music instead of viruses!  So although singing into a camera at home felt strange, it also felt like something familiar, and has been such an important distraction for me personally.” Laura, member of BSO Voices

“I’m worried about my family, particularly one member who is treating Covid patients as a front line worker — having the camaraderie of the choir really helps!” Robert, member of BSO Voices

Over 400 local schoolchildren from across the region contributed to the film by submitting rainbow-themed artwork. Last year, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra performed to over 16,000 under-18s; the team contacted its educational partners and were thrilled and overwhelmed by the large number of responses in just a matter of days.

To hear BSO Voices perform Over the Rainbow visit from Thursday 23 April, 5pm.