À Cœur Joie 

l'asso du chant choral

en France

PRESS RELEASE 24/04/2020

When resuming choral activities, taking time is of the essence.

The official epidemiological information available to date, the realities of partaking in collective singing and the legal framework in force have led us to analyse the current situation, and to share with the choral community a prospective interpretation for the months to come.

From our analysis, we believe that resuming collective choral activities before spring 2021 may constitute a real risk factor for the majority of cases.

How so?

  • Collective singing carries a higher risk of viral transmission (by aerosol) than most daily activities.

  • Immunity through vaccination is the consensus for the time being.

  • Vaccine availability is estimated for spring 2021 at the earliest.

This timeline will be reassessed in the case of scientific progress, or if working methods adapted to choral activities are developed that ensure the conditions for its safe practice.

However, at this point in time, we would recommend structures and participants to consider postponing or making major adjustments to or face-to-face activities until the pandemic is under control.

To date, and after consulting the medical literature and specialists, it seems advisable to limit interactions between practitioners in the following ways:

  • Respect safety distances

    • Work on a single line of singers

    • Minimum lateral spacing of two metres between singers

    • Conductor at safe distance, masked

  • Workspace

    • Prefer an outdoor setting for rehearsals 

    • For indoor rehearsals, ensure maximum aeration (open doors and windows)

    • No closed air ventilation (i.e. air conditioning) > risk of aerosol diffusion

  • Participants

    • Less than 10

    • Discourage population with higher comorbidity risks (aged +65/+70, diabetics, heart problems, overweight/obesity, etc.).

    • Any sign of possible infection (fatigue, fever, cough, etc.) should lead to/ temporary withdrawal from group activity.

These indications:

  • are not official instructions, and do not replace them

  • are proposed as elements for reflection in view of autonomous, responsible decision-making by all stakeholders

  • will  be reassessed and updated as our understanding of the risks evolves (www.choralies.org)

A Coeur Joie has, since the beginning of April 2020, organised its teams and activities in order to engage in a process of recovery and reconstruction by:

  • holding an online General Assembly with 160 participants and electronic voting (new Board of Directors elected)

  • setting up bi-weekly meetings online to discuss the tools for recovery (between 50 and 70 participants per session)

  • contacting member choirs to assess local situations and break isolation

  • leading a strategic development effort to understand and set milestones in the recovery process

  • planning: online trainings, cooperation with scientists to create guides for choral distancing, mobilization of choir members despite the reduction in choral activities, etc.

Furthermore, drawing on the consequences of this analysis, and giving priority over any other consideration to the physical  safety of those involved, the board of directors decided to:

  • postpone or cancel any planned activities through end of September 2020.

  • adapt, where possible, activities planned after that date

  • assess the situation once a month and decide on further postponement or cancellation measures as necessary until the crisis is resolved

Our network will bring the specific needs of our sector to the attention of the general public and the authorities, and will campaign for an ambitious policy to revitalise the sector as a factor of social cohesion.

Promoting the physical encounter of individuals through choral singing is one of the founding principle of our association. It is therefore truly heartbreaking  to recommend the suspension of these meetings. Nevertheless, it is our responsibility to assess the situation in light of the available scientific data, and to ascertain a practical and unambiguous position. All stakeholders may thus take their responsibilities, and mobilise their energies towards a much hoped-for revival of our art form.

Collective and responsible action is at the heart of collective singing and it shall be our strength in overcoming this ordeal.

 

The Board of Directors

A Coeur Joie France

24 April  2020

contact: cferrandcooper@choralies.org

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