The Government's Guidelines for Public Worship II - the return of choir groups

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keitha
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Re: The Government's Guidelines for Public Worship II - the return of choir groups

Post by keitha »

The latest version of the Guidelines follows the change in the law that came into force on 14 September and applies the 'Rule of Six' to singing groups - so that they cannot number more than 6 (see particularly section 4): https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... rom-4-july.
Keith Ainsworth

John Ainslie
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Re: The Government's Guidelines for Public Worship II - the return of choir groups

Post by John Ainslie »

Yes, the renewed restrictions are a blow. But surely we need to be thoughtful and creative, given that they might well be in force not only at Christmas but certainly in Lent 2021 and perhaps next Easter as well.

A personal experience. I was at a crematorium funeral service a couple of days ago. There were recorded choral renderings of well-known hymns before the service began, which created a good atmosphere. But there were two hymns/songs during the service for which the words were printed in the service copies and the assembled and masked 30 were invited by the minister to “join in without singing”. I chose to hum the tunes (actually the tenor or bass parts in alternate verses!).

I felt that I was taking part in the service. No, not as good as conventional vocal participation, but better than nothing.

I think we have got to set aside the notion that listening to someone (or several others) singing cannot facilitate ‘proper’ participation in a liturgy. We are used to cantors/psalmists singing the Responsorial Psalm. Why is there apparent resistance to judiciously expanding this role in these times to have the cantor or small group sing suitable hymns/songs/psalms for folk to “join in without singing”? Doing so as Gathering rather than Entrance Songs, and during or after Communion, won’t lengthen the Mass, for clock-watchers seeking to keep the celebration short.

Rendering the Gospel and Eucharistic Acclamations is a different problem. IMHO it’s better to have them acclaimed (said) by everyone than sung by a few.

Southern Comfort
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Re: The Government's Guidelines for Public Worship II - the return of choir groups

Post by Southern Comfort »

I'd agree with everything John said.

One caveat about humming, even when wearing a mask. Fairly early on (March/April) they did studies on humming as an alternative to singing and found that just as much was produced in the way of aerosol, even when the hummer was masked.

Every week or two, someone will suggest humming as a solution to vocal participation by the assembly, but in reality it's just as dangerous as singing. Those suggesting it simply did not see or know about the early studies.

Hare
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Re: The Government's Guidelines for Public Worship II - the return of choir groups

Post by Hare »

Why not just throw in the towel and accept it is all over?

alan29
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Re: The Government's Guidelines for Public Worship II - the return of choir groups

Post by alan29 »

Southern Comfort wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:06 am
I'd agree with everything John said.

One caveat about humming, even when wearing a mask. Fairly early on (March/April) they did studies on humming as an alternative to singing and found that just as much was produced in the way of aerosol, even when the hummer was masked.

Every week or two, someone will suggest humming as a solution to vocal participation by the assembly, but in reality it's just as dangerous as singing. Those suggesting it simply did not see or know about the early studies.
I am wary of appearing to try to circumvent rules. It would not be a good "look."

oopsorganist
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Re: The Government's Guidelines for Public Worship II - the return of choir groups

Post by oopsorganist »

I read this thread with a sad heart.
Two weeks ago we restarted our local community choir with restricted numbers - two at least have had Covid and recovered. It's gone well in that no one has become ill but we fear the managers of the hall will ask us to desist as cases rise in this our "Casedemic". We will be left with no option but to sing in the park - outdoors. One of our group - a fabulous woman in her eighties - two years ago given a diagnosis of terminal cancer but still here after dangerous surgery - she has an amazing soprano voice and used to sing the clubs in Yorkshire. But our choir is her life line. I bet she'd still come along to sing outside if that is what it takes. Otherwise, what point?
Personally I have remained well and active and out and about within reason. I often think of all of you and pray that all will be well after such a bad time.
But what is left here? I miss the spiritual support of going to Mass. I look in vain for an outdoor Mass to attend. The church I had been quietly going to has limited numbers and I feel I must be at the back of the queue.
Yes this post is not really about choir groups. It is about what is going to happen to support us in our belief when we are subjected to this ongoing fear and loss of freedoms.
uh oh!

alan29
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Re: The Government's Guidelines for Public Worship II - the return of choir groups

Post by alan29 »

Hare wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 8:42 pm
Why not just throw in the towel and accept it is all over?
Because it isn't.

Southern Comfort
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Re: The Government's Guidelines for Public Worship II - the return of choir groups

Post by Southern Comfort »

In a thread elsewhere, RSCM people are claiming that the wording of the latest guidance is wrong and that it actually means you can have multiple groups of six (e.g. Decani and Cantoris) if properly spaced. One claims to have been having conversations with grovernment contacts and that revised guidance is coming soon. Others say that educational institutions are exempt from the guidance (presumably thinking of choir schools), while another states that if the church of cathedral is Covid-safe than those buildings are exempt. I think they may just be trying to wriggle their way round the rules so that cathedral and church choirs that have restarted can continue.

In my view, saying in effect "What can we get away with?" is precisely why we're in the current situation of an imminent second wave. We see it every day on TV and in the newspapers. I see it every day on the streets when I am out exercising. And I played for a wedding recently where there turned out to be the best part of 100 guests instead of the 30 allowed, and none of them was masked. It is no less than a betrayal of the rest of us who have kept to the rules in order to safeguard the vulnerable, and we pay the price for the thoughtlessness of others.

On the other hand, the Berlin University professor of virology says that because most of us have been taking precautions the viral load received in infections is lower and that the infections are therefore less serious than they were in the first wave. This may account for the fact that while case numbers are rocketing, hospital admissions and deaths are still relatively small.

The Oxford professor of theoretical epidemiology said a couple of days ago that we should let as many young people (for example, university students) as possible get infected now, so that not only do they build up resistance but the chances of them passing the virus on to their grandparents is lessened. Students should stay together on campus when an infection is found, rather than returning home. That seems to be the path to "herd immunity" in the population as a whole.

Hare
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Re: The Government's Guidelines for Public Worship II - the return of choir groups

Post by Hare »

alan29 wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:10 am
Hare wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 8:42 pm
Why not just throw in the towel and accept it is all over?
Because it isn't.
It is for some of us

Southern Comfort
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Re: The Government's Guidelines for Public Worship II - the return of choir groups

Post by Southern Comfort »

The government has today issued revised guidelines. Instead of now limiting singers to a group of six, the guidance says this:
Singing, chanting and the use of musical instruments

What the leader(s) and performers can and cannot do:

[*] For performance during worship (and rehearsals), both indoors and outdoors those performing in:
[*][*] a professional capacity; and
[*][*] those under 18 where supervised,
are not limited in number.
[*] In all other cases, where the number of adult performers will be greater than 6, each group of up to 6 performers should ensure that they do not mix and that appropriate social distancing requirements are observed.
[*] Singing should be limited to the performers, and worship should not include congregational singing.
[*] Places of worship should take account of the Performing Arts guidance which outlines additional mitigations such as good ventilation.
[*] Where music plays a big part in worship, and recordings are available, we suggest you consider using these as an alternative to live singing to mitigate risks.
[*] Any instrument played during worship should be cleaned thoroughly before and after use.
[*] Avoid playing music at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult or that may encourage shouting when people will be trying to converse before or after worship.

What the congregation can and cannot do

[*] People should avoid singing, shouting and raising voices. This is because of the potential for increased risk of transmission from aerosol and droplets.
[*] Activities such as singing, chanting, shouting and/or playing of instruments that are blown into should be specifically avoided by congregations/worshippers. This is because there is a possible additional risk of transmission in environments where individuals are singing or chanting as a group, and this applies even if social distancing is being observed or face coverings are used.
[*] Therefore, spoken responses during worship should also not be in a raised voice.
So what has changed is the first para and two bullet points under "What the leader(s) and performers can and cannot do". Clearly the RSCM's lobbying has paid off.

It's also interesting to read the guidance on weddings, and on presiders speaking and singing over the eucharistic elements.

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Nick Baty
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Re: The Government's Guidelines for Public Worship II - the return of choir groups

Post by Nick Baty »

Hare wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:21 pm
alan29 wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:10 am
Hare wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 8:42 pm
Why not just throw in the towel and accept it is all over?
Because it isn't.
It is for some of us
Can I presume you live in a part of the world where there are so many pastoral musicians champing at the bit that you will never be able to serve again?
We've just lost our building. But we have no intention of giving up.

alan29
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Re: The Government's Guidelines for Public Worship II - the return of choir groups

Post by alan29 »

Nick Baty wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 11:53 am
Hare wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:21 pm
alan29 wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:10 am
Because it isn't.
It is for some of us
Can I presume you live in a part of the world where there are so many pastoral musicians champing at the bit that you will never be able to serve again?
We've just lost our building. But we have no intention of giving up.
Good for you.
And good luck to you and your community as you adapt to new circumstances.

Hare
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Re: The Government's Guidelines for Public Worship II - the return of choir groups

Post by Hare »

Nick Baty wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 11:53 am
Hare wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:21 pm
alan29 wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:10 am
Because it isn't.
It is for some of us
Can I presume you live in a part of the world where there are so many pastoral musicians champing at the bit that you will never be able to serve again?
We've just lost our building. But we have no intention of giving up.
To put it bluntly, I am furloughed until end of October. It has been intimated that the parish won't have the funds to finance the music thereafter; my "day job" has practically ended owing to COVID. We live in an expensive area, can't afford to stay, so are moving to an area replete with musicians.

oopsorganist
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Re: The Government's Guidelines for Public Worship II - the return of choir groups

Post by oopsorganist »

Hugs to Hare.
But the ban on singing is [moderated :D ]. I have had the pleasure on Facebook of a Catholic school signing ( ie BSL) "This is Me". Lots of coughing on the recording and kids with their mouths open presumably breathing. All credits for signing. Etc. But there they were in an enclosed space and blooming ['blooming' is good - moderator] breathing.
Bless me but I can breathe out without sound and no vocal chords and spread whatever I have abroad - should I so wish.
This is a loss of liberty impacting on our faith.
uh oh!

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