Chorus Updates

Chorus+Updates

Kavya Kolindala

As COVID-19 cases increase, so do safety measures. Choir, usually a program that depends on physical support and interaction, has taken a big turn from where it was before the pandemic – but Wake County is hard at work to simulate the feeling for students as much as they can. On October 19th, updates on the choral program’s rehearsal restrictions rolled out, and read:

Based on discussions among principals and academics stakeholders, all high school arts activities will begin on Monday, Oct. 19, with the following two exceptions: high school bands and orchestras will not be allowed to play brass or woodwinds and high school choral groups will not be allowed to sing. In addition, these exceptions will be in place for all K-12 in-person instruction, once it begins. Percussion and stringed instruments will be acceptable for rehearsals and instruction.
Groups can, however, meet and participate in team-building activities, SEL activities, or other music-related activities that do not involve singing or playing instruments. Recent aerosol studies have led the Wake County Health Department and the ABC Science Collaborative to advise that it is in students’ best interest to refrain from playing instruments or singing at this time. We will keep you informed as the guidance around this issue is updated.

To shed some more light on the new restrictions, I spoke to Green Hope’s choral director, Mr. Botwick. 

“WCPSS has released information regarding after school rehearsals for art classes in high schools across our county. As of 10/19, teachers were permitted to begin after school rehearsals with very strict guidelines for ensuring the safety of anyone involved.” Mr. Botwick told me when asked what the new changes entailed for the program. “Unfortunately, we were told that there would be no singing allowed at these rehearsals, even with our singer’s masks.” Singer’s masks are face covers designed to allow one to comfortably breathe and sing, which would be difficult through regular masks. In addition to this, I also asked Mr. Botwick how he felt about these changes, to which he responded, “I am very grateful to teach in a school district that prioritizes student and staff safety; however, I believe that there is an equity issue here because there are some sports teams being permitted to practice without masks on.  Historically, athletics has been viewed as more important than the arts in our society. I look forward to hearing from the district on this equity issue as we move forward through the semester.” 

The chorus program may be in quarantine, but everyone is hopeful for the return of Green Hope’s precious choirs! Of course, these changes would have to be carried out in a patient and safe manner. I asked Mr. Botwick about his prediction for the future of the chorus program; “This pandemic is out of our control. When we can resume safely, I know that the chorus program at Green Hope will continue creating a space for all students to be themselves and come together through music. Personally, I don’t feel comfortable returning to school before there is a vaccine that has had great success. I know that online learning presents a lot of challenges; however, someone once told me, “You have nothing without your health.” The program has adapted to fit the new lifestyle we’ve encountered throughout the pandemic and will continue to change. 

It’s extremely important to stay safe during these tricky times!  We at the Green Hope Falcon encourage you to be constantly checking Wake County’s website, social media, and the news for more updates regarding COVID-19, and what you can do to stay healthy.