Good News! (but it might change)

September is here and time to look forward to a new season!

I wrote this on 8th September. This morning (9th September) Government have given notice of new restrictions which may affect this.

In the light of changed guidance and advice your committee met (on line) last week to discuss how we might resume singing together.

THERE IS A PLAN!

Timeline:

8:00 pm Friday, 11th September – Choir members Zoom meeting, open to all 7:45 pm Friday, 25th September – Proposed first live meeting at Woodborough Village Hall

We will start with a choir members’ Zoom meeting this Friday at 8:00. This will be an opportunity to chat together to clarify any questions and issues. I hope that as many people as possible will be able to join us. The link to the meeting will be sent separately. Some of you are desperate to sing “live” again; some of you are understandably reluctant to take the risk at the moment and some will need reassurance that measures are put in place to minimise risk before committing.

At this stage I must emphasise that each of us has responsibility for our own safety and to the rest of the group and must make our personal decisions in that context. 

Mary has worked hard on everyone’s behalf to produce a choir risk assessment which you can all access here. If there is anything that you want added please raise it on Friday or contact Mary.

Our biggest problem to resolve is that of venue. Neither of our regular venues is large enough to maintain social distancing. Fortunately Cathy has secured us Woodborough Village Hall for our first few meetings. It is a large, well ventilated room with a spacious entrance foyer and facilities. Thanks to Cathy, Mary and John Pope who have helped research possible venues.

Initially my proposal is that we meet for no more than an hour; that we maintain a minimum of 2 metres distance; stand/sit in a straightish line and not sing at full volume. Wear masks on arrival but make an individual choice when singing.  (I won’t wear a mask in rehearsal but will be 3 metres away from the nearest singer.) We will have to forego our post rehearsal fellowship so bring your own refreshment if required. There should be no sharing of music, pencils or anything else. Only one person in a toilet at any time. Woodborough Village Hall has its own risk assessment ensuring that everything is clean before we go in and when we leave there are things that we have to do to help keep it safe.

I also propose that we meet fortnightly. There are reasons for this. Several of us are in high risk groups so two weeks between meetings will give opportunity for any Covid issues to resolve. Not all of you will attend so in the intervening weeks I will provide a lockdown-style Nick’s Notes that everyone can access. I am looking into cost effective ways of recording or live streaming rehearsals so that those who are unable to attend can remain connected.

There is no completely risk free solution; everyone is free to make their own decisions. Your committee is risk aware but not risk averse.

Over the past month I have lost count of the hours that I have spent reading guidance, advice, scientific research papers and all sorts of “fake news”. This last weekend we had an Association of British Choral Directors virtual Festival at which we heard at length from respected authorities on this issue. I feel that I am personally well informed to help keep us all as safe as possible.

Everything is in place for us to enjoy meeting and singing together even if it is not as we knew it yet.

Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions and comments.

I am excited at the prospect of meeting you in person and making music, I hope that you are as well.

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