A message from Brandenburg Choir soprano Anna Sandstrom
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Together as One.

Join our journey into the future of Baroque.

Dear friend of the Brandenburg

Over the last few weeks in Zoom chats with Paul Dyer and some of my fellow Brandenburg musicians, we have traded stories and laughs about getting creative and keeping sane in isolation. Despite the concert halls being temporarily closed, life has been anything but quiet for my family and has been very creative!

We realise how fortunate we are to be able to rehearse as a husband and wife duo - you might remember my husband, Mathew Manchester, as Guest Conductor in last December's Noël! Noël! concerts. I wish I played a few more instruments; I only sing and attempt keyboard instruments, while Matt plays cornetto and a menagerie of early wind instruments. We have also made a mini recording studio in the lounge room to engage in a few projects and have helped each other by recording rehearsal tracks for our school ensembles. One silver lining through isolation has been to hear Matt singing more again. Our little daughter, Freyja has watched on curiously, and Matt and I have wondered with each other which instrument she will gravitate to and if she will become the third member of our family to perform with the Brandenburg!  

The workload for our teaching has at least doubled, despite the number of students staying the same. It takes many more hours to produce accompaniment tracks and edit videos and recordings for singing lessons and choirs, but so worth it to maintain the connection and make music with my lovely students. In the first weeks of lockdown, I was often the only non- family member the kids saw. It was really quite an emotional time, with parents popping in to thank me for still being there in some capacity when all our worlds had changed so dramatically, and so fast. I am looking forward to being back with students and teaching face-to-face soon. 

You may remember me taking to the stage to conduct the Brandenburg Young Voices with Paul for the Mozart 100 Voices series, while very heavily pregnant? Well, that was four years ago. This has meant that our poor Freyja had a socially distanced 4th birthday party with Matt’s family on Zoom from Canada, Canberra and Orange. We then spent her whole birthday making a unicorn cake, and because restrictions had eased a little, we were able to have my parents over for the first time to help us demolish the enormous cake.  

We live very close to some bushwalking tracks near North Sydney, there is a “green mile” that runs from the northern beaches all the way through to Greenwich and Lane Cove. This kept us sane in the early days of lockdown. We would get up at 6am and go for bush walks and be home before any other locals were up for the day. More recently, it has been lovely to meet up and go for walks (socially distant of course!) with fellow Brandenburg Choir soprano Josie Ryan, who lives in the same area.  

It has been a great joy to watch the Brandenburg One digital content platform emerge. Following the Brandenburg musicians preparing and performing the exquisite unaccompanied works of JS Bach on their period instruments has been very inspiring.  

On behalf of my friends and colleagues from the Brandenburg Choir, our thanks to you all for your support of the Brandenburg. We look forward to sharing inventive new performances on Brandenburg One in the coming weeks and in the concert hall in the coming months. Stay tuned for the launch of Brandenburg One in early July.   

Join our journey into the future of Baroque. Please donate today.

Anna Sandstrom
Soprano, Brandenburg Choir