It’s that time of year. We are all starting (or are a few weeks into) a new school year, a new church season, community choir rehearsals, or new composition projects. Yet this isn’t where I thought we would be when I started this blog series in June. I fully expected to be looking at COVID in the rearview mirror.
Yet here we are. And you know as well as I do that we all wish we were in a different place. But we aren’t.
From my conversations, here is a summary of some common experiences:
- Most ensembles are back in some form. Most are in person, although not all.
- Some in-person ensembles are requiring vaccines. Some aren’t.
- Most ensembles are requiring that their singers follow recommendations put forth by the aerosol study (masked, distanced, shortened rehearsal time).
- Most ensembles and programs have much lower numbers than they are used to. And perhaps related, most programs have a lot less money.
- Many programs are still solidifying what performances will look like. What will be required from the singers? From the audience? Or will the audience not even be allowed in? Most directors can’t make a decision until they are closer to the performance. It seems that most are hoping for the best, but planning for the worst.
It’s incredibly evident that our colleagues are fully invested in their communities. We all believe in our missions. Yet there are a lot of emotions about the past 18 months, and I’m not convinced we’ve really been processing them.
So this series continues. Instead of Stories of Newness: Healing and Reimagining, it will be shortened to Stories of Healing and Reimagining. I will continue to listen to and share the stories of our colleagues. And it’s my sincerest wish that you will find solidarity, inspiration, and warmth in these stories.
I wanted to pause for a moment before this series continues. And I invite you to pause, breathe. You are not alone in your exhaustion and you aren’t alone when you feel inspired by hearing your singers make music as a group. You and your choral communities are creating your own stories of healing and reimagining. Thank you.