The Cloud9 Committee and Musical Director Christine Storey were proactive and back in early March decided to suspend choir rehearsals in light of the developing health crisis that turned out to be the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result, we had to have a virtual farewell to our talented accompanist of many years Annabelle Clucas. Some thirty-two members joined a Zoom call with digitally-acquired gifts, heartfelt speeches, farewell toasts and a poem (or as Janice called it, a bit of doggerel). The very talented Desley produced both a digital and hard copy photo memorabilia card.
Since then we have met up via Zoom to keep connected, but we soon learned that actual singing cannot be easily done over zoom due to the internet delay. We have tried a few options for learning repertoire and singing at home with microphones muted, or breaking into smaller groups and coming together later and singing karaoke style accompanied by our own recordings from previous concerts. This is not for everyone especially those who are zoomed out from being online all day at work.
We have been learning about droplets and aerosols and how singers are very efficient at projecting these to great distances! The Australian National Choral Association have made a statement.
Choral singing provides wonderful human connection and difficult to do in isolation. We are all hanging out to get together again and make some music but with many of our members in the higher risk group we are cautious and will be following the government health guidelines. So at present 20 of us could meet outside and stand apart in rows of alternating spaces but not perhaps in the dead of winter!
As we rehearse in a Uniting Church property we have to wait for the all clear from them, as well as addressing extra physical distancing, changing our social greetings, ventilation of the venue, lots of extra hand hygiene measures, standing much further apart and in a different formation, changing our vocal warm ups and considering face shields to catch the droplets. There is no scientific evidence yet to say whether this would be effective or not.
I hope someone is doing a trial?
Anne Woodward June 2020