Just before Christmas, most of us were hunkering down ready to try and make the best of a largely socially distant Christmas with the promise of more restrictions to follow. Taunton soprano Mary-Jess, however, was getting ready for the biggest performance of her life.
Mary-Jess, winner of the Chinese X Factor and singer of the Downton Abbey theme song for the Official Soundtrack Albums, was preparing to sing to a crowd of over 100,000 people in Taiwan.
It was her biggest live audience yet, surpassing the 90,000 strong crowd at Wembley Stadium when she sang Abide with Me at the FA Cup Final.
But in a world ravaged by Covid-19, how was this even possible? Marry-Jess explains to Tone News:
Covid-19 just isn’t an issue in Taiwan, it’s so surreal; it honestly felt like I was living in a parallel universe where Covid never existed. How wonderful would that be?
Since the SARS outbreak, Taiwan have had incredibly sophisticated track and trace systems in place, as well as rules and procedures that the public are all happy to follow.
During the first wave they shut all the boarders, since then, restrictions on foreign travel had loosened but I was still only allowed in because the Taiwanese Government were inviting me to perform.
I was allowed to leave the UK because it was a business trip. The Taiwanese Government organized the visa, and the Covid rules were (reassuringly) strict. I had numerous Covid tests, a book of forms to fill in, ‘Fit to Fly’ certificates…
When I arrived it took over two hours to go through all the procedures at the airport. I had to buy a Taiwanese SIM card and have my location on at all times, quarantine for two weeks in a quarantine facility upon arrival where the authorities would text and call me everyday to check on my health condition, I had to take my temperature and report the results three times a day… and so much more!
Mary-Jess’ latest album, ‘Live in Concert’ is available from iTunes, Amazon and from www.mary-jess.com where there are also free songs available.