Sheffield folk star fights loneliness with online singing group

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A virtual singing group providing older people with a vital sense of community and friendship during the coronavirus lockdown has been launched by a folk star from The University of Sheffield.

The sessions, led by Dr Fay Hield, a folk singer who is also a lecturer in ethnomusicology and music management in the university’s Department of Music, are providing a virtual space in which amateur folk singers can continue to gather, sing songs and make friends following the closure of folk clubs due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The sessions have enabled amateur folk singers to gather virtually through Zoom every Tuesday evening to sing songs together and share folk-related stories.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Dr Hield, whose project The Full English won the best album and best group categories at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2014, said: “It is just beautiful to see people interacting online in much the same way as they did face to face.

“I wasn’t prepared for the ease of camaraderie we would achieve.

“Due to the time lag of being online we can’t all sing together, and the thought of people joining in chorus songs alone in their own homes at first seemed surreal.

“However, when you see everyone else’s muted mouths going up and down like goldfish, and find yourself singing along at home, there is such a powerful sense of togetherness.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It is amazing we are still able to make communal music in these strange circumstances.”

Launched nearly a month ago, the online singarounds have already attracted more than 200 singers, as well as thousands of viewers each week.

The sessions have also welcomed amateur folk singers from around the world, including people from countries such as Ireland, the USA and Canada.

Anyone with an interest in folk music is welcome to take part and it is hoped the sessions will help musicians stay connected and supported.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The #CovidSings online singaround is held every Tuesday between 8pm and 10pm. To participate, contact Dr Hield via or email [email protected] and to watch a livestream of the folk #CovidSings online singaround, see