Our small local choir was working hard towards a performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria for Easter 2020 when the pandemic struck. We immediately shut up shop, and have continued to follow government guidelines as to possible resumption dates, now postponed by a further four weeks (PM announces four-week delay to Covid lockdown easing in England, 14 June). Since March 2020, not a note have we sung.
We are an ageing choir and many members will not return when we do resume. The choir may be unviable by the time singing is allowed.
That being the case, can anyone explain to me why, while following the recent Test match, I was regaled by the Hollies Stand at Edgbaston in full voice; and why, the day before the lockdown delay was announced, a walk around a local town was accompanied by continual singing by those watching the football? Outside, admittedly, but to judge from the picture in the print edition of the Guardian (14 June)of fans watching Croatia v England at Vinegar Yard, London, not much social distancing in evidence. Does sports singing not spread the virus?
Why is it acceptable for several thousand football fans to sing Flower of Scotland at Wembley, but not for the Lincoln Chorale, numbering less than 50, to have disciplined and socially distanced singing rehearsals in our large garden without us having to ration places each week to 30?
The government’s extended-lockdown announcement once more ignored amateur singing. I have had a reply to an online petition I and many others signed, and it basically explained nothing. (You can read it for yourself on the government’s petition website.) This made no attempt to explain why professionals can sing in any number and amateurs are limited to six: nor how amateurs mysteriously become un-infectious if they are working with professionals. It is ludicrous that (say) the Huddersfield Philharmonic can sing en masse if they’ve hired a professional orchestra and conductor, but we can’t put more than six people together in a church, a G&S rehearsal hall, or a folk club. Possibly hall size has some relevance, but this is not referenced in the reply. As already said by many, our spiritual, physical and mental wellbeing is being at put at risk by these arbitrary distinctions.