Singing Network UK is a free forum, bringing together organisations with an interest in singing to meet twice a year face to face.
With 29 other organisations in the UK involved in singing and choirs, we discussed representation to the government(s) on re-starting choral activity following the Covid-19 lockdown.
A clear plan of how to resume singing was urgently needed to support the mental well-being of the 2 million people who usually sing regularly in groups and the nation as a whole, including choirs’ audiences, congregations and families.
There was also a significant economic impact on singing, of all kinds, on the livelihoods of musicians, teachers, venues, music publishers and other suppliers; currently jeopardised by the impossibility of group singing.
We agreed that what was needed was:
- a UK-wide coordinated approach
- clear guidance which can be practically implemented in a variety of circumstances (one-to-one/group teaching, church choirs, choral societies, youth groups), in schools, professional and amateur settings
- a differentiated approach to rehearsals, teaching and public performances
- research to establish more conclusively the aerosol transmission risks for Covid-19 when groups sing in enclosed spaces
- support for venues and spaces, from schools to community halls, churches to arts centres, so that they are able to open again
- support for professional musicians (conductors, accompanists, music creators, teachers etc.) crucial to the return (and flourishing) of singing
- roll-out of broadband and digital training for all, so there is no-one left behind in a world which will remain at least partially online for a while
Singing Network UK pledged to advocate for the safe return of group singing with the UK government and the devolved administrations, emphasising the messages listed above. We encouraged members to do the same, by writing to their MP or nation representative.
Singing Network UK sent an open letter to Oliver Dowden MP on 22 June 2020, outlining their concerns about the return to singing for the 40,000 choirs and their 2.2m participants in the UK.
Members of Singing Network UK
Members meet in order to:
- Find out what other organisations are doing and in particular what lobbying or advocacy they may be undertaking
- This could and does lead to organisations then collaborating on campaigns or specific projects
- For the volunteer-led organisations in Singing Network UK, the meetings are also an opportunity to raise their principal issues, which might then be taken forward by others around the table with more capacity – depending on topic that might be different organisations
- There may be projects which Singing Network UK decides to support or carry forward as a group, such as research led by Singing Network UK members Voices Now into the number of choirs in the UK
Below are the current members of Singing Network UK, listed alphabetically. If you are interested in joining or want to get in touch for any other reason, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, for the attention of Barbara Eifler.