I hope you are all joining in singing lustily during our online worship services! The one thing I am most grieving about during this crisis is that it is looking like it will be quite some time before we can enjoy congregational singing. The reason being that singing is a very effective way of spreading the COVID-19 virus.
When someone coughs, sneezes, shouts, talks loudly or sings, a huge cloud of droplets are propelled into the atmosphere and these droplets can carry the virus. The smaller ones can stay suspended for quite some time.
Singing involves a lot of activity within your throat and respiratory system – there’s vibration of the vocal folds, manipulation of the larynx, pharynx, tongue and lips and deep breathing. It’s also the way your mouth moves when you sing that makes it such an effective way to transfer the virus. When you sing vowels the mouth is wide open so aerosols are completely unobstructed. When you sing explosive consonants like ‘p’ and ‘b’, a large puff of air is produced so large droplets are expelled. Add to that the fact that during singing people inhale more deeply and frequently and the coronavirus will have a field day!
One suggestion is to sing behind plastic face shields – not sure we would be open to that idea especially as there is no guarantee that aerolised droplets would not escape. However experts say that 1.5 metres is nowhere near enough distance between singers. A separation of between four to six metres is recommended and we may have to re-think our choir formation in order to stand in a single line, not face-to-face.
You may wish to read the article here for more information.
In the meantime, our band and choir are working extremely hard to present some familiar voices each week. It means that each singer needs to record the song separately against a click track, then on receiving all the recordings Ron (for the choir) and Nathan (for the band) expertly link all together with the results you hear each week. After getting over the shock of playing back your track and hearing your own voice with all its foibles, it has become quite fun especially when one is reassured that when all voices are put together the mistakes are mostly covered up!
So while we are all in this state of isolation we are so grateful to those tech heads in our congregation who enable us to express ourselves in song and we will have to think up some creative ideas to enjoy music when we are physically back together – listening to, clapping with, dancing to music??? Ruth