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Tenors hit the headlines

It is difficult to differentiate reality from fantasy at times as restrictions remain in place for choirs. Many video clips and images of sports supporters singing together in huge crowds have been met with bewilderment by the choral world, but one news item in particular this weekend has outdone all of this in the current descent into farce that we continue to see with regards to singing in a Covid world.

This can only be the now-taken-down guidance released by the Welsh Government pertaining to singing in church. In particular the clause that suggested that tenor voices create more aerosol than other voices.

It quickly became apparent that the only source for this piece of ‘guidance’ was from the Facebook page ‘In quires and places where they meme’, who produced a spoof news article earlier in the year, dressed up as a Classic FM news item.

While there can be humour found on the face of this incident, it has created greater concern amongst the singing world. It proves that the people that are making decisions and writing policies are at best guessing, and at worst, finding the first piece of information they can, and without any due diligence as to the veracity of that information, including it in the policies.

This incident was reported in the Sunday Telegraph, and you can find the article below. It even received a mention on ITV’s ‘Loose Women’ on Monday 21st June.

The Welsh government has since apologised for this mistake.

Another news item surfaced last week regarding a choir in Norway where there was an outbreak following a rehearsal. Professor Martin Ashley has since stated that he is ‘given to understand from a research contact that the choir concerned was not following mitigations.’ It again goes to show how close an eye is being kept on singing and transmission rates that are connected with the activity, and that some of the articles that do get into circulation do not always tell the whole story.

This makes the relevance of the new ‘WellRehearsed’ app, and an important request for data by Project Get Singing all the more relevant.

The WellRehearsed app is a current record of what mitigations choirs and other music groups are putting in place for their rehearsals at present. This has been developed by Making Music and ABCD.

Project Get Singing are also coming to the end of a short data collection window looking more closely into rehearsals that took place in Autumn 2020. This is to support the assertion that even when there were no vaccinations and hospitalisations and deaths from Covid-19 were at a much higher rate, there were no outbreaks from choir rehearsals during the window when many choirs returned to in-person rehearsals.

This is all in support of the petition to bring guidance for choirs back in line with comparable activities, particularly after the array of videos and images of so many hundreds of football supporters singing their hearts out in close proximity to one another during the European Championships.


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