As I write today, group singing is still classified as a High-Risk Activity in most jurisdictions. Choir singing is banned, congregational singing in places of worship (even where they can gather) is forbidden, and according to the Alberta Government, where group singing “can’t be avoided” it should be done with the fewest number of singers possible, and with singers facing away from each other or separated by plexiglass. In fact, to my knowledge at the moment, Norway is the only country where a tentative return to choral singing is happening, and the world is watching what goes on there as a sort of litmus test for how to proceed. I won’t lie. This has been really hard for me.
With that reality before us and with an unknown timeline for a return to communal singing a couple of questions have been weighing on my mind. The first is around the associated benefits of group singing – either in choir or jam situations – and how my people are doing without the beneficial ripple effects of group music making. The second big question is what does this mean for Whistling Duck Music?
The answers to the first question are as varied as the people in question. I won’t follow that stream right now – just know that each of you is on my mind: my choir members, my Mamas, my Brotherhood, my students.
As for the second question? I don’t know right now. Over the summer we would usually have a jam every week, open to all members. This year we can’t do that, but we will find ways to continue to connect. It is unlikely that we will be allowed to jam in the fall or for some time to come, but the format that the Guitar Mamas use at our monthly Showcase nights is considered safe for these times, so we will look to resume meeting in real space, within the recommendations for gathering size and social distancing as well as taking into account personal comfort levels.
The Brotherhood of Strings will be discussing options this week for how we go ahead – but rest assured that we WILL go ahead. The shape of our nights will have to look different, at least for a time. But gathering around music is always going to be important, and so whatever happens I will be looking for ways to keep that happening.
I actually thought I would write about vocal care in this post but I’ll save that for the next one. Until then, make sure you’re staying hydrated and keep on singing. Those are two of the most important things you can do for your voice, your mind, your body, your spirit and your song.
See you soon, Friends. Keep on shining on.