At the time of writing this post, we’re all being affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus. The infection is spreading fast and is showing no signs of slowing at present. These are scary times as we face lockdowns, closures and quarantine.
Many of us rely on leading our choirs for our livelihoods, so the prospect of cancelling or postponing choir rehearsals and concerts is not at all attractive. How should we handle what’s going on at the moment, and what can we learn from this crisis when we’re thinking about the future.
I’ve been so impressed with how our choir leader community has handled the coronavirus crisis so far. The discussions in our Community and in our free Facebook group have been practical, rational and constructive.
It can be pretty scary when we read the news, but we have to react to what’s actually happening. There’s no point in running around with our hair on fire – that just leads to exhaustion and a bad hair day. Get your information from a variety of reliable sources. Stay up to date, but try not to ‘catastrophize’!
Take sensible precautions
Even if you’re in an area where official restrictions aren’t yet in place, it makes sense to take precautions against infection. If your choir is still meeting, remind everyone to wash their hands thoroughly before they come, after they leave, and as many times as they like in between! If you can, make hand sanitiser available as well. Keep physical contact to an absolute minimum.
If you usually have refreshments at rehearsals, consider calling a halt so that people don’t have to touch any shared items like crockery or containers.
And, of course, make sure that your choir members know that they should stay away if they have any cold or flu-like symptoms, or they have returned from an infected area.
These kinds of precautions are easy to implement and have little serious impact on people. It’s no great sacrifice to avoid shaking hands for a while and go without a cuppa.
Plan for the worst
We’re not going to panic, but we do need to think through the possible scenarios we might be faced with over the coming weeks.
If you have to cancel or postpone choir events, will you need to provide refunds on tickets? Do you have insurance that will kick in if certain circumstances arise? Do you know what those circumstances are and what documentary evidence you would need to make a claim?
If you rely financially on running your choir, how are you fixed if you can’t do that for a while? Can you make ends meet? If you’re worried, can you take any steps now that might help? Do you have financial commitments that could be paused for a while? It’s often possible to arrange mortgage or loan repayment holidays in a crisis and at the very least, it’s worth asking. Every little helps.
If you’re worried about letting people down by cancelling rehearsals or concerts – don’t. We’re all in the same boat. We know that health has to come first and that we have to protect our vulnerable friends and neighbours are far as we are able.
Hope for the best
However long this crisis lasts, it will, like all things, eventually come to an end. We will get through this by helping and protecting each other.
And when it’s all over, there will be singing!
Here are a couple of excellent posts containing helpful advice and useful resources.