As the route out of lockdown slowly continues here in the UK, a lot of choirs all over the country are starting to plan for ‘real life’ rehearsals. For the past 12+ months, most choirs have been meeting via zoom. And most, if not all, soon discovered that zoom was about the most ineffective solution for a choir rehearsal possible.
When can choirs rehearse again?
This potentially is the sixty four thousand dollar question. As things stand at the moment most choirs are preparing to meet outside in a group of up to 30 from Monday 17 May onwards. Whether this can actually happen of course remains to be seen. As well as being allowed in law, choirs also will have to find suitable venues. For anyone on a choir committee, this may well be giving them plenty of things to consider and not a lot of time to get it all in place.
Then there is the question of numbers. A lot of choirs will have more than 30 members – so how does that work? In some situations there will be choir members who for one reason or another are not able to meet in person. For this reason I would expect a lot of choirs to run a zoom alongside their actual rehearsals, certainly for the foreseeable future. This will certainly help with numbers. But you could still be in a situation where you have to alternate two groups on a weekly basis.
Where can your choir meet?
Let’s assume, all being well, that the easing of lockdown in the UK proceeds as planned and choirs can meet from 17 May. What next? Well the first thing to consider is somewhere to meet. The current guidelines suggest that up to 30 people can meet outside with suitable social distancing. As we understand it (and this is not official government advice bear in mind!) this would include choirs meeting to sing.
So you need to find an outdoor space. Some choirs might be lucky enough to have members who own farms or large gardens which can accommodate such numbers safely. Others may have to find more public spaces. Sports clubs are one such venue to consider. You could potentially meet in a local park or maybe space around a church. It might also be worth contacting local schools – if your choir is meeting in the evening or at weekends there maybe an outdoor space there which could be used. Schools also have the benefit of parking on site.
Aside of the British weather being kind a lot of choirs will need a source of electricity. This could either be to power a digital piano or a system for backing tracks depending on how your choir is organised. The requirement for electricity (or not) will also influence your decision as to where to meet – or indeed if it is even possible.
Anyone running or involved in a choir will be hoping that the time of real life rehearsals is now not that far away. Obviously we all realise that restrictions could come back at any point and certainly this article is only to be read in conjunction with any change in circumstances. Let us hope that before long our parks and gardens can resonate to the sound of beautiful singing all over the country.