I cannot escape how strange it feels to be writing about my choral work,  Written in the Stars, that I started composing for the stellar Adelaide Chamber Singers in The Before Times (before COVID-19). It was late 2019 that I started working on it, a time when bushfires began to ravage the land. I worked through the aftermath of the fires, through the onset of the global pandemic, of Black Lives Matter, of a US presidential election that threatened to turn into civil war, to the present-day state of anger at institutionalised misogyny, mass denial that there’s still a pandemic, and complete and utter exhaustion. Genuinely, it feels more like a decade than a year.

Composer Sally Whitwell Composer Sally Whitwell. Photo © Maja Baska

And it was just something in particular about this commission being a choral work. Back in March 2020, it was quickly realised that choral singing was the most dangerous thing you could do in this new COVID world. Our entire sector was shut down immediately and completely. Every conversation we had was about aerosols or ventilation...

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