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Rainbow of Thanks

Rainbow Summer Sunset - thanks to wonderful friends for inviting me to their allotment with a view!
Dear Friend

A Rainbow of Thanks

Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud - Maya Angelou
I'm dedicating this month's newsletter to giving thanks for the rainbows in the lockdown clouds.  Lockdown has involved multiple levels of loss - whether the loss of a loved one, loss of health, freedom, travel, social connection, hugs, work, education, earnings, activities, events.  Even though lockdown is easing, there is continued uncertainty and grief.
Many of us have had to dig deep to find the rainbows in the clouds, but if I am still here and you are still reading this, then both of us are still living and breathing in this moment and that's one big rainbow to be thankful for. 🌈

Nature's Messenger of Hope
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky: - Wordsworth

During a Caterham Choir Zoom, our spirits were lifted by this double rainbow.
Throughout history, the rainbow has always been seen as a message of hope.  Iris (from Greek eiris -messenger) is the Greek Goddess of rainbows. Daughter of a nymph and a sea god, she travels the world on golden wings at the speed of the wind, watering the clouds with ocean water and carrying the message of the rainbow between heaven and earth.
My lockdown walks have been a god(dess)send, bringing the discovery of many magical green spaces and socially distant chats.  Huge thanks to all who supported my Walk the Walk Moonwalk Roadtrip and to Stella Plumbridge for co-ordinating our team - I walked 136.44  miles and collected £323 for cancer charities.  I did my final walk all pinked up and following requests, my daily blogs are available as a roadtrip e-book  🌈

Thank You for the Music... and the arts
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty what would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?

Singing together in online choirs, even in a very strange way, has been a lifeline for many of us, helping us stay connected and keep the flame of song burning.  We've all learned new skills including how to look cool/ pull silly faces/ take a nap on Zoom.  Creative projects have brought enormous solace, growth and fulfilment during this time. The arts can bring imaginative innovation and entertain, uplift and soothe aching hearts during a crisis. It it has taken a huge amount of lobbying from campaigns such as Public Campaign for the Arts to raise government funds and we must continue to raise our voices and bang our drums in appreciation and support of the arts.  🌈

Celebrating Pride & Remembering Ray
The beauty of standing up for your rights is others see you standing and stand up as well."— Cassandra Duffy
During June, rainbows beamed across our virtual world in celebration of Pride.  Gilbert Baker pioneered the use of the rainbow flag for the LGBTQ movement in 1978 and it has since become a global symbol of inclusion for many taking a beautiful technicolour stand at Pride marches.
During lockdown, LGBTQ+ activist Ray Harvey-Amer passed over the rainbow.
A gentle, dedicated, flamboyant, big hearted revolutionary, Ray marched on the first Pride and having served as a nurse in the Royal Navy from 1957, was instrumental in bringing about recognition for members of the LGBT community who served in WWI & II. A memorial fund has been set to raise funds tor Rainbows Across Borders Choir, which he founded to support LGBT Asylum seekers through the ordeal of applying for asylum in the UK.  His extraordinary legacy lives on in the rainbow marches of today and tomorrow   🌈
Thankyou NHS &
for your donations

To make a rainbow
 you must have rain
Must have sunshine, joy and pain
Lots of hues and different shades
And poof! Like magic,
a rainbow's made - Dolly Parton
The rainbow arch has become a symbol of gratitude to the NHS who celebrated their 72nd Birthday with a virtual choir version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
  I received a lovely thank you card from St George's Hospital Charity for the donations collected via my Honesty Box for the Big People Sunday Sing sessions and other generous singing friends.
So far together we've raised over £300 and counting..! 🌈
Daring to dream over the rainbow
of a post-lockdown world

Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true

Gratitude heightens my awareness of what I hold dear.
Many of us have experienced significant shifts in our priorities in this time of personal and collective reflection.
Two huge examples of the transformation catalysed during this crisis include:
The ongoing Black Lives Matter protests are the largest civil rights movement in history, which have spanned all 50 US States and 18 countries, calling on our global community to address systemic racism at all levels of society.
Lockdown has brought about a revolution in home working, dramatically reducing transport pollution and increasing quality of life. 74% of hospital doctors and 88% of GPs are in favour of continuing remote appointments, which the Royal College of Medicine predict will continue to form 50% of consultations. A Bright Horizons study of 1500 parents found that only 1:8 want to return to pre-lockdown work and 50% will request flexible working.

We can all, I believe, help create the world of our dreams by asking
🌈 1. What have been our rainbows in the lockdown clouds?
🌈 2. What changes do we want to see in a post lockdown world?
🌈 3. What actions can we take to make these dreams reality?

I'm hopeful there will be some form of return to socially distant singing in the not too distant future.

In the meantime online sessions continue and I'm delighted to be offering two special
Summer Schools in Music Theory and Vocal Health & Anatomy - more info below.

Thank you so much for staying tuned during these difficult times.

Be well, be safe, breathe deep, sing loudly 
Lots of love, virtual hugs and good singing vibes