The Personality of the Month
We have been privileged to interview Antonella Harrison, who has recently been elected Chair of Barcarolle Choir. Antonella tells us about the exciting challenges that lie ahead and about her objectives/ambitions for this talented choir.
Q. How did you first become involved with Barcarolle Choir?
A. After over 25 years of a busy corporate life, I took the hard decision to slow down and, while continuing consulting in my industry sector, to enjoy my passions and nurture my hobbies. At the top of my priority, there was certainly music, mainly in the form of dance at the time, and physical exercise. Indeed, during one of my gym sessions, a friend asked me if I was interested in attending a Barcarolle singing workshop, an experience that I truly enjoyed and that brought me back to the times when in Italy, I used to sing with my friends, accompanied by a guitar.
So, in late 2018 I joined the choir regular weekly sessions on Thursdays, led by our wonderful and inspiring to the point of being “contagious” music director, Sam Evans. Not long after that, I was involved in the choir committee and preparing for our Christmas concert!
Q. If you were to single out one memory from that period?
A. The Summer concert in June 2019 really took me back in time to when I was ballet dancing on stage, as I put together and performed a very short dancing choreography, involving four other singers, while we were all singing Rain Drops keep falling on my head.
Q. How did you cope with the pandemic?
A. The Covid 19 pandemic forced us all on Zoom, which is not really great for singing! But it kept us together as a team, with our leader bringing the joy of music to our houses and giving us that extra strength to overcome this grey period of our lives.
Q. When did you become Chair? How did you feel on your first days?
A. I became the new chair of Barcarolle Choir on 1 April. This has been the greatest personal achievement in the past year but certainly also the most challenging one, given the government restrictions and often frustrating last minute changes, plus all the financial and organisational issues.
Q. What do you see as being the greatest challenge lying ahead?
A. Probably the need to make decisions which could be well balanced between the desire of all of us singers to return to sing together, in person, and to perform in concerts and the duty to guarantee a safe and risk assessed environment to the choir, particularly to the most vulnerable singers.
Q. What are your objectives?
A. I am convinced that music brings joy to people, to the singers but also the audiences, and that for many of us it could be therapy, particularly during difficult periods like the one we have been through – and which is not completely over. So my personal purpose, in the short term, is to bring Barcarolle Choir to sing together and perform as much as possible. In the medium/long term, my target is to bring the joy of music to hospitals, old people homes and the various communities around us.
Q. A few last words to conclude?
A. I am very grateful to the former chair of Barcarolle, Hèlène Coste, for asking me to succeed her in this important and very rewarding role….
Barcarolle Choir onwards and upwards! Follow us on our website and on social media, and do feel free to reach out and join our rehearsals at St Cuthbert’s Church, Earl’s Court. We always welcome new singers!