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Nepean choir welcome back (Sept 2 2021-2
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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: o “International Coalition of Performing Arts Aerosol Study Updated  Guidelines”, July 9, 2021: performing-arts-aerosol-study-july-2021-update-final.pdf