Fall, 2020 plans under COVID

Music plans from Fiona

As you have heard from your Executive, we are a bit further along with our planning for the fall. We have explored numerous scenarios and, as you can imagine, even the one that we are proposing may change by the time we gather in September. In that regards, we thank you for your continuing patience.

Some of you have indicated that you may want to try the ‘virtual choir’ scenario via zoom. While there are certain musical ideas and concepts that can be developed via zoom, it cannot replace ‘choir’. Therefore, we propose weekly face-to-face rehearsals at a large venue – St. Andrew’s United Church. Sanctuary.  Here are some details that we have considered:

  • We will be physically distanced by more than the regulation 6 feet  (most likely 9-10 feet between each singer
  • We will have a shorter rehearsal time of 90 minutes (7:00 – 8:30 on Tuesdays. Starting on September 15th)
  • Current science indicates an actual singing time of a total of 30 minutes before a total air change needs to take place. The 30 minutes need not necessarily be continuous; therefore, we will spend the rest of the time  interspersing with other skill-building activities. the following:

o Score study

o Clapping rhythms

o Speaking or whispering the text

o Humming our parts

o Singing through a straw into our water bottle (a great technique which is good for the vocalis muscles as well!)

  • Masks will be worn for most of the rehearsal except during the 30 minutes of active singing
  • There will be no ‘social’ break
  • Cleaning of the space will be done before and after we rehearse
  • The opening of outside doors of the church and ventilation will be used to circulate and refresh the air during rehearsal
  • For those who cannot attend for any reason, we are investigating a ‘live streaming’ of rehearsal, so that you can sing along with us in real time.

NB: We are following the guidelines and procedures set out in documents from the BC CDC and the BC Music Educators' Association, as of August 16th, 2020

  First rehearsal at St. Andrew's

With regards the actual ‘music-making’:

  • Jenny Vincent is excited to return as our accompanist on both piano and organ!
  • Depending on the number of singers, I will choose music that will best suit what we expect will be a chamber choir-sized group . In case you are interested, here are a few pieces that could work well, especially if the tenor part is (or T1) is well within the Alto II range and tessitura.
  • Of course, we will need to leave the ‘big format’ works until we are back to having a larger group. And we will have fewer pieces than normal, to work on within our 90 minute rehearsal timeframe.
  • We are also investigating ideas to share our music:

o audio recordings with added visuals (still shots of the choir rehearsing and other material)

o live streaming some of the pieces or video recording a concert

o added poetry/readings

o outside performance(s)

See what you think of the following, almost all of which is already in our library!

  • In the Bleak Midwinter  – a cappella or w/org  segue into ...
  • Blow, Blow, Thou Winter   Wind  – Rutter w/pno
  • Five Christmas Favourites with readings:

Es is ein Rose entsprungen  – Praetorius  segue into ...

Lo How a Rose/The Rose  – w/pno

§ Women:  Tomorrow Shall Be my Dancing   Day  – Rutter – w/pno

§ Men:  Boars Head Carol  – arr: Weigel or TTB /w/pno

Carol of the Bells  – Leontovich

  • Sure on This Shining Night  – Barber w/pno
  • Clap your Hands  – Vaughan Williams w/organ

There are other interesting pieces to consider, depending on numbers and balance between sections. There are more challenging pieces that would take much more time to prepare (perhaps in the spring, if we are allowed more singers). I would choose one of these only and add other shorter pieces to round out a nice programme. Of course, there is also the Gala 50+ concert to keep in mind!

  • Hymn to St. Cecilia – Britten (a cappella)
  • Cantique de Jean Racine – Faure w/pno or org
  • Beatus Vir (psalm 112) – Monteverdi w/organ
  • Lux Aeterna – Lauridsen w/organ (a glorious & difficult work. May need to give one movement to a smaller, chamber choir-sized group)


page updated 2020-08-24