WMC Creative Learning and Community Engagement Coordinator, Adam Laughton, reflects on a joyous afternoon of live music at WMC's recent Community Concert.

Saturday 26th September 2020

"If you are anything like me, music will have been one of the key parts of your world keeping you sane throughout this trying period. But at a time where our worlds have been divided into six or fewer, I have found myself approaching listening, appreciating and performing as solitary exercises, normally with headphones in and the world blinkered out. At certain points, this approach has felt so normal for me that I’ve had to remind myself about the magic that comes with experiencing music live as a part of an audience through photos, videos and half-baked memories.

It was an utter joy to experience this magic in the flesh once again at WMC’s Community Concert last Saturday. On an Indian Summer’s Day in late September, but for some bracing winds, families and households set themselves up across the back field to enjoy a brilliant afternoon of music making. Though each bubble may have been ‘physically’ distanced, the audience remained ‘socially’ connected through the shared experience and joy that live arts can bring.

With community at the heart of the event, it was wonderful to see such a broad array of performances from local groups, beginning to return to WMC to rehearse after an enforced hiatus. Wiltshire Young Musicians kicked off with an energetic rendition of their ‘Lockdown Project’, which the players had recorded from home as a part of a virtual performance in May.

After launching virtually in June, Wiltshire Jazz Academy performed in the same space for the first time, followed by WMC regulars Jazz Factory for a couple of standards. Next onto the stage, Bob Heath, an experienced music leader at WMC, performed a number of songs written during lockdown, celebrating the brilliant work of our disability arts group Zone Club and participants who joined our virtual ‘Make Music Day’ workshop in June.

With much of the uncertainty about singing together allayed, it was wonderful to welcome Fliss Courage Singers’ and Cantamus for two joyous sets with a wide variety of songs and styles. Following this, Mike Daniels’ Brass Quintet closed the community programme with a lively set of tunes, from baroque party-pieces to classic jazzy tunes.

As the headline act, local folk duo Carrivick Sisters, began their set of brilliant folk tunes, you could see many people within their bubbles clapping and tapping their feet. The duo’s rhythmic force and soaring vocals even brought a few out of their seats to dance along to the jigs and reels. It confirmed to me just how valuable and unique that live arts are, and how important it is to be able to enjoy music in the flesh and safely shared with others. I am so excited to see WMC come to life with more concerts in the coming weeks – I hope you can join us for our Autumn Winter season."

Adam Laughton
Creative Learning and Community Engagement Co-ordinator