Vancouver Chamber Choir

Leaders of choral groups across Canada have issued an open letter to the public regarding concerns about the reopening amid COVID-19.

They argue that since fitness centers and gyms, restaurants, bars, hair salons, air travel and schools across Canada are now being considered for opening, they should also be considered on a footing. equality. They cite examples of the lifting of concert restrictions in Europe, as well as scientific studies describing viable ways to mitigate the risk of singing and transmitting COVID-19.

The letter mentions recent CBC coverage of choral singing which they claim is “based on outdated, insufficiently documented, anecdotal and sensationalistic information.”

See the full letter below.

Dear:

We are writing in response to articles published by the CBC on June 16, Singing or dancing is prohibited even when Ontario’s patios and places of worship reopen, and June 20 Choirs reinvent themselves as singing proves to be an effective way to spread COVID-19. As a national consortium of conductors and general directors of all professional choirs in Canada, we represent ensembles from Prince Edward Island to British Columbia.

Canada is a nation of vibrant choral traditions that includes not only world-renowned professional choral ensembles, but also community and youth choirs, chamber vocal groups, opera choirs and church choirs. Recent articles, based on outdated, insufficiently documented, anecdotal and sensationalistic information, concern us all. With new evidence released daily on how and when various essential services in the economy could return to normal operations, we hope that Canada’s rich choral music sector – including rehearsals and performances – will be addressed. with the same plea that goes to fitness centers and gyms, restaurants, bars, hair salons, air travel and schools across Canada.

Recently, several European ensembles have resumed rehearsals and performances, and summer festivals, such as the Salzburg Festival in Austria, the Rossini Festival in Pesaro and the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago in Italy, as well as a Bachfest edited in Leipzig, Germany, have already taken place or will take place this summer, mounting operas, choral and orchestral concerts, and more.

With new studies published from various global sources reassessing previous claims about the risk of singing and the transmission of COVID-19, we believe that a new dialogue must ensue to ensure a safe and cautious return to choral singing in our communities on an equal footing with the reopening of other sectors. Singing and choral music is not only the livelihood of so many people in this country, but has a serious impact on the country’s economy, as well as on people’s mental health and social and personal well-being.

New scientific research by Dr Christian Kähler and Dr Rainer Hain, of the Institute for Fluid Mechanics and Aerodynamics at the Military University of Munich, has included a recent to study [translated from German] on the risk of coronavirus by singing and playing wind instruments. The study concludes that “the air is only set in motion in the immediate vicinity of the mouth when singing … experiments have shown that at a distance of about 0.5 m, almost no movement d The tune cannot be detected, regardless of the strength of the sound and what tone was sung. It is therefore unlikely that the virus could spread beyond this limit via the airflow created during singing. Their determination is that, for singers with a distance of 2m between them (mouth to mouth), the spread of larger droplets and aerosols is extremely unlikely. Room size and ventilation are, of course, also important for safety, as is the wearing of masks.

Dr Kähler, who has been asked by the German government to create a set of rules / guidelines to officially regulate the reopening of musical creation in Germany, writes: “I have advised many choirs and ensembles in recent weeks on how to make music in complete safety… many choirs and musicians are already singing and replaying in German-speaking countries. Our measures also protect against droplet infection and aerosol infection. I don’t know why people are opening gyms and restaurants, but not the music business. Restaurants are much more dangerous… if you speak face to face over short distances the risk of infection is much higher than if you sing to someone from behind. “

In the study entitled, Risk assessment of coronavirus infection in the music industry, from the Institute of Medicine of Musicians of Friborg, their conclusion is that “two meters will not entail any increased risk of infection by droplets … there is no greater risk of being infected by singing than by speaking”. They also state that “singing in very large enclosed spaces such as concert halls and churches seems to be very supportive.”

One of British Columbia’s top health officials, Dr. Reka Gustafson, said in early June CTV News Vancouver that “the overwhelming majority of transmissions (COVID-19) occur through close and prolonged contact.”

Earlier reports have included anecdotes of “super-spreader” outbreaks with choirs in Washington, Amsterdam and Berlin during the early days of the pandemic, before lockdowns or social distancing measures were in place. Since then, more information has been published that has linked the outbreaks to circumstances other than singing, and yet these unfortunate and isolated incidents are still presented as evidence of how “deadly” singing is during the crisis. COVID.

Although we come from a place of consultation, we certainly agree with maintaining the recommendations of the medical community and public health on social distancing, hand washing, adequate ventilation and wearing of masks. However, we are calling for a more collaborative dialogue to establish guidelines on reopening this important sector of society, as has happened in industries with similar health issues. Separating an important activity which has such a big impact on the culture, history, economy, tourism, education and mental health of Canada is problematic for all of us and has not provided a balanced way, positive and sure to move forward in the future.

Choral singing is an essential service – it is a powerful and necessary expression of our collective humanity and must go hand in hand with the resumption of all other essential services in our society.

Lydia adams, Conductor and Artistic Director, Elmer Iseler Singers (Toronto)
Russell braun, OC, international singer, educator University of Toronto (Toronto)
Karen burke, Co-Founder and Artistic Director, Toronto Mass Choir (Toronto)
Dr Lisette Canton, Founder and Artistic Director, Ottawa Bach Choir (Ottawa)
Dr. Julia Davids, Artistic Director, Canadian Chamber Choir (Canada)
Andy Rice, Director General, Chamber Choir of Canada (Canada)
Beth peterkin, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chamber Choir of Canada (Canada)
Howard dyck, CM, Artistic Director, Nota Bene Baroque Players & Singers (Kitchener-Waterloo)
Andrew McAnerney, Artistic Director, Montreal Early Music Studio (Montreal)
Diane leboeuf, General Manager, Montreal Early Music Studio (Montreal)
Vocal ensemble Musica Intima (Vancouver)
Dr Margot Rejskind, Artistic Director, Luminos Ensemble (Charlottetown)
Dr Timothy Shantz, Founder and Artistic Director, Luminous Voices (Calgary)
Krisztina Szabó, Faculty of Mezzo-Soprano and Vocal at the University of Toronto (Toronto)
Ivars Taurins, Director, Tafelmusik Chamber Choir (Toronto)
Carol kehoe, General Manager, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir (Toronto)
Daniel taylor, Founder and Artistic Director, Theater of Early Music (Toronto)
Dr Kari Turunen, Artistic Director, Vancouver Chamber Choir (Vancouver)
Steven Belanger, General Manager, Vancouver Chamber Choir (Vancouver)
Dr Mark Vuorinen, Artistic Director, The Elora Singers (Elora); President, Choirs Ontario
Laura Adlers, Managing Director, The Elora Singers (Elora)
John Wiens, Artistic Director and Conductor, Polycoro Chamber Choir (Winnipeg)
Michael zaugg, General and Artistic Director / Principal Conductor, Pro Coro Canada (Edmonton)
Graeme Climie, Commercial Director, Pro Coro Canada (Edmonton)

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Michael vincent

Michael vincent

Michael Vincent is editor-in-chief Ludwig Van and CEO of Museland Media. He publishes regularly and writes occasionally. A digital media specialist for over 15 years, he has worked as an editor and is a former freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star. Michael holds a doctorate in music from the University of Toronto.

Michael vincent

Latest posts by Michael Vincent (see everything)

Michael vincent

Michael vincent

Michael Vincent is editor-in-chief Ludwig Van and CEO of Museland Media. He publishes regularly and writes occasionally. A digital media specialist for over 15 years, he has worked as an editor and is a former freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star. Michael holds a doctorate in music from the University of Toronto.

Michael vincent

Latest posts by Michael Vincent (see everything)





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