NORVIS in-person

The NORVIS committee wishes to thank all our NORVIS friends for your feedback to the questions sent out a few weeks ago. The overwhelming preference was for a COVID-secure in-person course, the same preference as our tutor team. So, in the light of the government’s plan to allow all amateur music making from Step 3 (17th May) and further ease restrictions from 21st June onwards, we are confidently working towards that. As chair of the trustees, I recently revisited our new venue, Barnard Castle School, to look at its COVID-secure measures, which were very thorough. The school has also made available some additional spacious rooms as teaching and performance spaces.

We will follow government advice at the time to keep the course COVID-secure, following the school’s domestic routines and keeping our music making safe. The singing class and choir will take place, in a suitably controlled manner, but there will be absolutely no sharing of wind instruments. It is possible that we may ask people to take Lateral Flow tests during the week. 

On this basis, much of what we love about NORVIS will be almost normal; perhaps we should call it ‘new normal’. There may be some minor adjustments to the afternoon and evening activities to make them appropriate for the situation.

In the unlikely event of the in-person NORVIS being unable to take place, we have contingency plans for a more compact online offering (at lower cost to you) which will keep the NORVIS torch burning until we can meet once again.

So, please feel confident about booking for NORVIS. if you have not already done so. We are regularly updating the website and the music list details. This year sees the anniversaries of both Josquin des Prez (500 years) and Michael Praetorius (400 years), and the concerts and choir music will reflect these commemorations. We have some great events planned and hope that the wonderful Bowes Museum, next door, will be back in action too. But most of all, NORVIS is about our superb tutors, the wonderful experience of making music with others, the great variety on offer and the friendly community that is NORVIS as we celebrate our 50th year.

Apply at and also use the contact form to ask any questions that you might have – we will try to answer you in a straightforward manner. We are extending the £20 early application discount to 10th May (normally 1st April), and the payment deadline for balance of fees to 15th June (normally 1st June). As ever, there is a £50 discount for introducing a friend who comes the course for the first time and generous bursaries are available to students and others who might not be able to come otherwise.