Invitation to 2021-22 Season of the Nepean Choir
Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the Nepean Choir, as we embark upon our 2021-22 season!
We are looking forward to a year where we can finally start to do some practicing in person, albeit with strict rules and measures in place to assure everyone’s safety while singing. This is particularly important for two reasons: first, the demographics of our choir mean that we have large numbers of people who are especially vulnerable to harm from Covid-19; second, singing is a risky activity because we expel more air (and therefore more Covid 19-causing aerosols) than when we’re talking.
The Executive has been meeting over the summer to assess how best we can return to singing together. This email sets out what we’ve concluded, based on the best available information (see resources at the end to learn more). This email is longer than usual – please read it all, as there is important information about how we will achieve a safe environment for everyone.
Last year, because of the pandemic, we rehearsed virtually, via Zoom. As one member put it, it was better than nothing. This year’s plan includes both in person and virtual options.
The choir will be working towards a virtual Christmas performance that will feature pre-recorded works by the choir, as well as live performances that may include the full choir, soprano/alto or tenor/base works, smaller ensembles, and/or solos. The entire performance will be 45-60 minutes in length.
While our approach for the coming year will undoubtedly evolve and be modified as the pandemic evolves and local public health directives are updated, the prospect of being able to practice in person is very exciting!
Here is what you need to know:
Rules for participants while in the rehearsal space:
• Covid-19 vaccination: If you wish to participate in person, we require that you be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. This currently means that you
have received at least two doses of a Health Canada-approved Covid-19 vaccine, with the second dose received at least 14 days before attending indoor events.
• We will ask you to show proof of full vaccination when you arrive for your first in-person practice. We will not keep copies of any
documentation, but rather just check your name off as having shown this proof. (If you did not receive a record of your vaccination, you can call the provincial vaccine information line at 1-888-999-6488 or contact your local public health unit.)
• For anyone who is not fully vaccinated, you are welcome to participate in practices virtually. Stay tuned for further details on how to participate using this option.
• New members wishing to try out the choir are also welcome to participate in person if they are fully vaccinated; if not, they can still try us out virtually (and we are looking for new members, so please spread the word).
• In addition to all of us being fully vaccinated, we will be following all public health directives to ensure our safety. These include:
o Wearing masks: The choir has purchased packages of disposable “singing masks” (N98) that we will provide to participants.
o Hand sanitizer: It will be available when you enter the rehearsal space. Please use it.
o Distancing: All participants will be seated at least six feet apart. We will ask that you stay seated after arrival, without moving round the room more than necessary. Seating will be assigned in order to assist in contact tracing should it be necessary.
• Not feeling well? Please do not attend the practice in person that evening. Venue and initial schedule:
• We have obtained Woodroffe United Church (where we hold our concerts) for our practices (the school board is not yet allowing community groups to meet at its schools.)
• Our first meeting, Tuesday September 7, will be the AGM via Zoom. • The first “official” practice will take place on Tuesday, September 14, 2021.
• Practices will take place Tuesday evenings between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. with one smaller grouping of choristers attending in person each week. • The group of choristers attending in person will be rotated each week. The goal is to have a balanced in-person ensemble, as well as to give all who wish to attend in-person opportunities to do so over the course of each semester. We will set up a virtual sign-up process with the aim of ensuring fair and equitable access to in-person rehearsals.
• The expectation will be that choristers not attending in person on a particular week will attend virtually via Zoom.
• You can also choose to participate virtually for all practices via Zoom. How indoor in-person practices will be run:
• Screening: Participants will be screened as they enter the rehearsal space, to assure there are no symptoms or recent exposures that would be a flag for not participating in the indoor practice that evening.
• Group size: We will meet in groups of no more than 25 choristers at a time (including the Director and pianist), to allow for social distancing. • We are able to open windows during the practice for ventilation • Duration of singing: We will be limited to 30 minutes of singing. Each in person rehearsal will start with the screening and warm-up outdoors (7- 7:30), (Zoomers can have social time from 7:15 to 7:30), with the formal rehearsal beginning at 7:30 both in-person and on Zoom. The rehearsal will begin with 15-20 minutes of non-singing preparation and practice, followed by 30 minutes of singing practice. The practice will end between 8:15 and 8:30.
Want to learn more about the science and guidance that formed the basis for the Nepean Choir’s approach to getting back to singing in person? Have a look at the following resources:
o Choral Canada National Webinar titled “We Can Sing Safely”, June 29, 2021: https://www.choralcanada.org/wecansingsafelywebinar.html o “International Coalition of Performing Arts Aerosol Study Updated Guidelines”, July 9, 2021: