Covid 19 Health and Safety for everybody

Now that lockdown restrictions are slowly being lifted I am pleased to announce that I am ready to play as a soloist or part of our string quartet (Exe Valley String Quartet). We will follow all of the government guidlines and make sure that both all of the venue staff and guests are safe and that we as musicians are also safe when performing at your wedding or special event.  I/we also have included a Covid - 19 clause in our 'contract of engagement' so that everybody is clear from the beginning where we stand and we completely acknowledge that this is nobodys fault.

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Lockdown hasn't stopped the music!!

On March 14th I put my violin away in it's case and made my way home for the evening just like I would after any gig.  I had just played at a beautiful wedding in the Moorland Garden Hotel.  Little did anybody know what was about to happen across the nation.  Lockdown! What did this mean?  In short, all live music work would be cancelled or postponed.  No more weddings for the foreseeable future.  No more Rock Choir rehearsals or Rock Choir gigs for the foreseeable future. More importantly for me I think - no more musical interaction with other musicians.  What do I do now?  It is so important at times like these to keep a positive mind and to keep a healthy mind and not let things get you down.  Yes there have been bad days and indifferent days where you start to wonder if there will be any gigs ever again and we are certainly not out of the woods yet.  We have just entered July and I am making this written note of what I have been doing since lockdown began.  First things first - get in touch with all my clients and re arrange all the gigs in the diary until at least October 2020.  It was a difficult task but thankfully this has been done and achieved with success.  What about Rock Choir?  We cant meet like we used to and every gig in the summer programme has disappeared because all the events have been cancelled. As you can see from the photo I have had to get my head around the latest technology as the only way forward was to move the choir online!  Those people that know me well will also know that this wasnt something that I found particularly easy and certainly not an enjoyable prospect!  With help from many friends and colleagues, far more knowledgeable than me, we did it!  I host three Zoom choir sessions every week.  To start with I was very unimpressed!  How can I run a choir and not be able to hear them sing? (Singers have to muted due to the latency!) I am just conducting my mac!  Urgh!!!! Over time I have come to realize that you have to make the very best of any given situation.  It was Zoom choir or no choir. Alongside my lovely choir members we have learnt to really enjoy Zooming.  Its lovely to see each other and I can teach the choir new material and we can sing through older songs.  Yes the members are singing in isolation but you can see your choir buddies and you can hear them in the rehearsal tracks so it is close to what we had!  We are coming to the end of a very different 'virtual' term but it has been a great experience.  Alongside Zoom sessions I have put together individual video tutorials for each section of the choir for each of the five songs that we have learnt together.  We have had facebook live sessions, Zoom quizes, fancy dress sing alongs as well as a lockdown recording project with the members for We are the Champions by Queen.  (This was brilliant by the way!). 

As a violinist I have been grateful in many ways for the down time.  It has given me the time to practice so much more which I have really enjoyed.  I have been working on new arrangements of songs and pieces ready for when we can get out there and gig again.  I have been a part of some recording projects alongside local friends and musicians.  All in all I am making the very best of a difficult situation.  We still dont know when large weddings will start again and we still dont know when my choirs can meet up safely so this may only be 'half time' at the moment. If this goes on for a long time then I may well come back and give you all an update.  In the meantime I am in a good place, enjoying the downtime and practice time and enjoying working with my choir members to keep us all singing and in good health! Take care and stay safe.

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Piano Wedding at Haldon Belvedere

Lovely wedding on Friday at the very beautiful Haldon Belvedere (Lawrence Castle). The view across Exeter in the sunshine was stunning. I was on the piano on Friday playing for the guests as they took their seats and settled down. We then had the traditional Bridal March for Ellie's entrance, A Thousand Years and All of me for the signing of the register and then All you need is love for the exit of the bridal party. Nice to be on the piano for a change. Congratulations to Ellie and Jeffrey on your wedding day.

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Arranging and Wedding Fairs

January and February is a time for recovery after a very busy Christmas period.  I am currently writing out some arrangemnents in preparation for a busy summer period of weddings and events.  I will be joining the Exe Valley String Quartet to showcase our repertoire and music at wedding fairs across Devon.  We start at Exeter Racecourse on Sunday 27th january (11am - 3pm).  Then we will be playing at The Osborne Hotel in Torquay on Sunday 17th February (similar times) and then finally we will be playing at Bovey Castles open day on Saturday 2nd March (2pm - 5pm).  As a soloist I will be playing at the Moorland Hotel overlooking Dartmoor on Sunday 10th February from 11am.  If you are planning a wedding or know somebody that is or maybe you know somebody planning a corporate event or dinner or something similar where a live string quartet or violinist or pianist would add to the atmosphere and ambience for the event then it will be great to hear from you.

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January and February Deals available

Richard has some availabilty in January and February 2019 where a special offer might be considered.  If you are getting married or having a party or special event where some live music might go down well with your guests then please get in touch with Richard and he will talk you through the different packages he has available.  Remember that Richard has a wide variety in terms of repertoire ranging from classical music through to current more contemporary rock and pop tunes.  Richard plays acoustic violin, electric violin and also the piano so his music would be suitable for almost any venue and any special occasion.  If you book Richard before the end of November then a discount will be available.  Thank you.

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Voice Coaching at PQA Exeter.

I am looking forward to working with the amazing students at Pauline Quirke Academy in Exeter tomorrow morning.  I am giving them some coaching as they prepare for an amazing gig in Exeter Cathedral in December with the one and only G4!!  

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Richard's website is now live!

www.musiciandevon.co.uk is the new website for Richard Toomer - wedding and events violinist and pianist.  Visit the website for details of Richard's work as a violinist and a pianist.  You can even see what he gets up to with Rock Choir!  Please share amongst friends and family and anybody who you think might like to have Richard come and play at their special event in the near future.  Thank you.

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