Penny Hamilton of North Kingston Choir reflects on a successful return to in-person singing and looks ahead to a sunny (fingers crossed) outdoor rehearsal programme over the coming months.
In early June, we held our first in-person choir rehearsal, more than a year since our last rehearsal was cancelled back in March 2020. Suddenly seeing everyone in real life was exhilarating and comforting in its familiarity.
However, arriving at this point took several months of discussions and preparations. The choir committee thoroughly deliberated various considerations in developing our Covid-safe protocol, regularly monitoring the latest government guidance. Making Music’s resources were incredibly helpful in translating official guidelines into practicalities and supported the drafting of a thorough Covid rehearsal plan, including risk assessment, logistics and expected behaviours for members.
Practical aspects including where the rehearsals could take place had to be determined, as well as considerations around the use of face masks and of any equipment. Choir members’ views were sought out in the planning process, which helped the decision-making. Socially-distanced rehearsals outdoors, rather than indoors, became preferable for several reasons, such as maximising natural ventilation, reducing points of contact, and allowing the inclusion of all choir members interested in participating.
So, with the weather forecast checked and messages sent out to the choir confirming that the first rehearsal would take place, there we were: standing outside, in a school playground, on colourful spots two metres apart, miming hugging gestures to each other.
So, with the weather forecast checked and messages sent out to the choir confirming that the first rehearsal would take place, there we were: standing outside, in a school playground, on colourful spots two metres apart, miming hugging gestures to each other. The new procedures put in place did not lessen our enthusiasm, but inspired confidence. After warming up, we started off with a couple of new songs, and although we were singing quieter than usual and for a shorter length of time, it was very satisfying to finally be singing together again.
All things considered, we are extremely grateful for what we have achieved and look forward to another five rehearsals this term – weather permitting!
Has your group recently returned to in-person rehearsals? If you'd like to let us know how you went about things, get in touch and help other members plan ahead.