Darlington Folk & Acoustic Club is still very active each week although they can’t meet in person owing to the current restrictions. Here, they explain how they have coped with the recent lockdown, from sharing clips of songs to a virtual singaround.

“When the Coronavirus lockdown was introduced on 23 March 2020, we knew this would present a challenge for Darlington Folk & Acoustic Club and for similar clubs and organisations. A number of our regulars fall into the vulnerable category and it was evident that it would be some time before we would be able to hold our weekly Thursday evening live-music meetings at the Copper Beech again. The Club Steering Group felt it was important to keep in touch with folks and looked for ideas to keep everyone involved. Fortunately, the club has an email list for advertising events and we could communicate in this way.

“Our first tentative initiative was to send out a music quiz and we were very encouraged by the response. It was clear that folks were interested and wished take part. Our club performers were then invited to make recordings of themselves playing and these were sent out over a number of days. We were taken aback by the positive feedback with lots of lovely comments such as ‘thank you, keep them coming’, ‘love that song’, ‘good to hear some cheerfulness ‘so beautiful’, ‘sunshine into these troubled times’.

“Buoyed by the response, we have now also started running a virtual singaround every two weeks using the Zoom platform. It is early days but these are proving to be popular and enjoyable evenings. Last week there were 13 performers with over 30 people attending! We have other ideas in the pipeline for the coming months.

“What this has shown is that folks welcome regular communication about the club and wish to be involved even in these very uncertain times. Onwards and upwards and stay safe!”

Bob Tuddenham