Are you in a college, community, church choir or chorus-- what's your group's plan?

This is COVID-related, but also music-related, so I’m putting it here.

I’ve sung in a college choir for the last 20 years. Got the word today that there will be no music ensembles this fall. No choirs (there are two of them) and no instrumental ensembles either. In fact, the music building will be closed. I don’t know where the classes will be held–haven’t heard yet. But I’m not in any of those.

I also sing in a church choir and that is suspended indefinitely.

These two activities were my main social outlets and my source of routine contact with people (since I live alone). College choir twice a week, likewise church choir (rehearsal and Sunday service). My heart is broken into a million pieces. :frowning: I know the other choir members feel the same way, but at age 71, I’m one of the younger members, so we really can’t take any chances.

In the college choir, I’m the oldest member (even 10 years older than the teacher :wink: ), but it’s a moot point since the whole program is shut down.

Choir singing and group singing of any kind are dangerous and will be for who knows how long…

“Making music has benefits beyond tradition. In a pandemic, though, it’s also riskier than staying silent.”

How are you and your choir or other singing group coping with this?

I’m not in a choir but I’m good friends with a couple guys in my church choir.

They’ve been told not to expect any choral singing until next year, very tentatively to hope for a return at Easter 2021.

Because Internet Age, there is apparently already a site for ways to facilitate virtual choral singing. See if any of these would work for your groups or some subset thereof? Even if a choir shrinks down to a Renaissance-music a cappella quarted in these hard times, it’s better than not singing.

Sad to say, that makes sense. :frowning:

Thanks for that link. I forwarded it to my choir director.

Performances of my Gay Men’s Chorus have been canceled for the foreseeable future. Next fall is doubtful. Plus, every four years, there’s a festival of hundreds of worldwide LGBT choruses. The 2020 festival has been rescheduled for 2021.

I’m hoping we can regroup once there is a vaccine, but it depends on a lot of factors.

Damn. :frowning:

Got an email from the church choir director. They’re resuming in-person services and the choir is asked to be present on July 5. There won’t be any choir or congregational singing, but the director has come up with a clever solution. She’ll play the music and the choir and congregation will recite the words along with the music. I’m only there for the music and fellowship – not into the religious part – but for those who are there for worship and prayer, I get that this is important to them. There will be one soloist and he’ll sing outside in the courtyard with a mike. I will attend if mask-wearing is mandatory. If masks are optional, I’ll stay home. I do feel apprehensive. Cases are up in my city like just about everywhere else.

A lot of people are using meeting software:

I’d just joined a local community men’s chorus in January…was really starting to enjoy it again after >30 years out of organized singing. Feels like I just got invested enough to be really missing it. Can’t imagine how the directors and full-timers feel.

For comparison’s sake, I checked the latest guidlines from the Seattle Archdiocese’s website. When churches reopen (very few in the Seattle area have, and the dispensation from attending Sunday masses is still in effect) no choirs are allowed. Cantors are allowed as long as they can distance from the congregation, but the congregation singing along is highly discouraged. They are taking the last seriously enough to avoid chanting parts of the service, and using instrumental music whenever possible.

I’m having second thoughts about attending in-person church services starting on July 5 as I described three posts back.

Even with masks, distancing, 50-gal drums of hand sanitizer, no singing or touching, etc., I’m creeped out about being indoors with a bunch of people. Full disclosure: this is an Episcopal choir and I joined it a little over a year ago because the director is a dear friend whom I love very much. She is also the director of the college choir that I’ve been in for 20 years and that has been completely shut down for the fall.

However, I’m not into the religious part. I’m Jewish, so I just sing and refrain from participating in the service itself. To the choir members, the prayer/worship part is very important. Especially communion. I’m in it for the singing and fellowship. My own synagogue is going to start having in-person services soon, but they’re limiting the number of participants and you have to sign up online as you do for classes and such. (I’m guessing this will make contact tracing easier in case they need it later-- knock on wood they won’t.) BUT even so, the synagogue has said that members over age 60 should NOT sign up for the in-person services and should continue to watch the live stream. Attendance at Reform Jewish services is not mandatory for anyone. I always light my candles at home. Attendance at a Jewish Shabbat service doesn’t have the spiritual impact to the attendee that communion and Mass do. (The Episcopals don’t call it “mass,” but I grew up Catholic and that’s exactly what it is. Word for word. Even if they don’t support the Pope.)

I miss the choir members soooo much. I miss singing (but we won’t be singing). As a single person with no family, I treasure this group that has welcomed me and made me feel like I belong. I’m reluctant to walk away from that belonging. I don’t have **anyone **I see regularly except my hairdresser and my cleaning lady. My book club has gone to Zoom. That’s the extent of my contact with the outside world.

Is it worth the risk to me (I ask myself)? If I were a church member, then yes, the spiritual benefit would be worth the risk so that I could attend mass and receive communion. The camaraderie would be secondary to the spiritual reasons. But for me the camaraderie is not just the primary reason, it’s the only reason. Waiting til COVID is over-- will it EVER really be over. But as I and others have said in this thread, that could be a year.

And it would mean starting on July 5 to attend regularly every Sunday. With all the protocols in place, of course, but that’s more exposure. At the end of July they’re bringing a new pastor on board, and I’d really like to participate in that… dang.

OTOH if I said I was not comfortable attending the others would understand. For all I know some other choir members may also decide not to attend. At 71 I’m one of the younger members. We’re very much an at-risk group. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that the director’s husband had a lung transplant about a year and a half ago. Anyway, no one would make me feel bad for not coming.

I guess I could go on July 5 and see what it’s like-- protocols, distancing, yaddayaddayadda. The would give me more data to help me decide.

Okay… rambling now… must ponder this some more.

I miss choir so much. We’re having a weekly Zoom chat during our usual rehearsal time, which is a nice way of keeping up with some friends, but does make it harder in some ways. We attempted a virtual choir performance, recording individual voices then having our sound guy combine them into a single track, but it wasn’t any fun. We too were looking forward to the GALA festival in MN, hoping hard that it’ll happen next year. Our choir director, a wonderful musician but a difficult and kind of sad man, is quite unmoored. He says he’s been composing a lot, but can’t tell if what he’s writing is any good.

ThelmaLou, I wouldn’t go. But ymmv, obviously.

I appreciate your comments from someone who also loves choir. :frowning: