Happy New Year from Polka

December 31, 2020

A message from Fran, Polka’s  Community Engagement Manager

Dear friends and supporters,

We hope you enjoy this video from Re:Sound, Polka’s intergenerational community choir.

The choir first began in 2019, in partnership with Merton Music Foundation, as part of Polka’s 40th birthday celebrations.  There were 4 choirs formed in different parts of Merton and they all rehearsed the same 5 songs, which were performed as one mass choir at Wimbledon Library.  The songs were 4 revivals from past Polka productions to represent each decade Polka have been producing children’s theatre on Wimbledon Broadway, plus one new commission which gave artistic life to Polka’s redevelopment project.  We were delighted to have members on stage from 6 months to 93 years!

The choir then blended into one choir, led by Soo Bishop, with members from each of the venues participating, kindly hosted by Merton Abbey Primary School, while building works at Polka continued.  We were happily singing until mid-March 2020 when Covid 19 changed plans as with many plans the world over.  

After a brief pause the choir reconvened in May 2020 to rehearse via Zoom.  Everyone is on mute while singing since the time lag between everyone’s computers prevents the voices being united.  However it still works really well, giving the sense of community that is the essence of a choir, as everyone sings the same songs together.  During lockdown there were examples of many choirs who had create virtual performance and so when we met for the Autumn Term 2020 Re:Sound decided to give it a go too!  

I shared the audio recording of Gather and Sing with members of Re:Sound just before Christmas and there was lots of delighted surprise at the end result, after a few singers had been initially reticent about hearing their recorded voices individually.  One singer commented ‘it’s lovely to hear us and it makes me feel part of the Polka family again!’

We are so grateful to Tesco, The Cooperative, MFS Investment Management and Clarion Housing for their generous support that has enabled the choir to continue to run despite the challenging circumstances of 2020.

While we are rehearsing virtually this does present us with the benefit of reaching a wider audience in terms of this performance but also singers from beyond Merton, who wish to join us from the comfort of home – please contact me for further details, a link to the folder of songs for the Spring Term and an invitation to join the Zoom meetings: fran@polkatheatre.com.


Best wish and a Happy New Year,

Fran and the Polka team