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How to manage U3A Choir Practice during Lockdown

Lyn Brown was both a teacher and librarian, before getting into bookselling.

“My bookshop was running on computer at this stage and I had learnt it all by the seat of my pants. I needed professional help so I registered for a 6-month computer course with Trish from The Tec Exec. It was invaluable. I have continued to upgrade my skills since then, and I’ve come to realise that the more I know, the more I realise how much I don’t know,” she says.

Now in retirement, Lyn is a course tutor for U3A Singers, and enjoys playing cards, scrabble, reading and socialising with friends and family.

“As well as U3A being a big part of my life, I find that because of COVID, I am using online media much more as a communication tool, and also for shopping. At one stage I was ordering groceries online. I started playing “Words with Friends” as I couldn’t meet my real friends for a game of scrabble.”

The U3A Singers usually meet for weekly singing classes, but once social distancing measures were put in place, they had to get creative.

“Many of our members do not have many other interests, so it was important that we continue to communicate regularly. We gave it a go on Zoom, and it was a huge challenge. Most of our members are elderly and it was a big learning curve for us and them.”

So Lyn decided to give Trish a call again, this time to support her U3A committee and members to get online.

“Trish helped enormously. First she trained the committee, and then joined in our meetings and made sure our members could access the session. Most of the committee did the Be Connected course, and then some of the singers did it as well.”

And now all of the members are adjusting well to the new online format.

“I was amazed and gratified to see how successfully the U3A Singers got on board with the Zoom meetings, and faced up enthusiastically to a very new learning experience. The best part of this, to me, was to see the smiles and joy when these dear people saw each other’s faces on the screen, with the satisfaction of accomplishing something new and innovative."

Practising their singing is important, but the social interaction is proving to be even more so.

“Without the skills to do this, one can soon be left behind and out of the loop. My advice is to feel the fear and do it anyway. Ask for help. You can see by the photos - we are old! If we can do it, anyone can.” This article was first published in Get On Line Week

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