In its statement updated today KÓTA makes the following recommendations for actors of collective singing.
COVID-19 has also appeared in Hungarian professional ensembles over the past two months with a gradually increasing number of cases. All of this has happened despite the fact that it is easier for soloist-like singers to keep the desired distance.
The Association of Hungarian Choirs, Orchestras and Folk Ensembles KÓTA would therefore make the following summarized recommendation for non-professional ensembles, based on its own experience and that of international choral organizations.
At the current stage of the pandemic we do not recommend rehearsals and concert activities for non-professional ensembles at all until the withdrawal of this statement!
Our present recommendations are for general, informational purposes only and do not reflect a final status, and do not mean a general return to choral singing confirmed by the Association. There are no good answers in general: choir leaders and choir members must make individually responsible decisions based on research, rules and guidelines in force, and taking into consideration their own unique situation, whether conditions are safe appropriate enough to continue working with their ensembles. The contents of this document are also recommended for consideration for elementary school singing lessons and choir rehearsals, as well as solfeggio lessons at art schools.
The most important is that the choir leaders and choir members responsibly follow the rules in force, prescribed by the Government. We recommend that you keep track of these, as they may change from day to day.
- 431/2020. (IX. 18.) on the protection measures during the pandemic period
- In case of cross-border collaborations: 408/2020. (VIII. 30.) on the travel restrictions during the pandemic period
However, if the ensemble still chooses for active choral singing, the following are definitely recommended to slow spreading the virus.
(The foreign language sources, as well as the details and justification of these proposals can be found at: https://kota.hu/covid-19/ )
- Most important is to stay at home if you are sick or have symptoms!
- Wear a mask before, after and during rehearsals. If possible, wear a mask while singing and if this is not possible or partially intolerable then wear it at least while actively singing.
- Maintain a safety distance of at least 1.5-2 meters on arrival, departure and breaks.
- Maintain a lateral safety distance of 2 meters during rehearsals, and a multiplied distance in the direction of singing, we have found up to 6 meters in international recommendations. That is why we recommend that singers shall sit in a row by respecting the above distance if possible, or in a chessboard-like sitting order or use another solution in terms of space utilization.
- The conductor should stay as far away from the choir as possible and wearing a mask, as he or she stands clearly in the direction of singing! Many documents recommend a minimum of 4-6 meters.
- Rehearse in as small groups as possible to reduce the risk of mixing, and pay attention that in no case should the groups “cross” with each other!
- Keep the test sections as short as possible (approx. 15-25 minutes) in a room with a larger floor area and a higher ceiling height, and then ventilate the room (approx. 10 minutes).
- Everyone shall have his/her own sheet music, folder and music stand, you must not exchange these!
- Disinfect chairs and other equipment before and after use.
- Wash and disinfect your hands regularly.
- Sing quieter – the quieter the singer sings, the less air is emitted!
- Protect members of risk groups! If possible, involve somehow also those who stay at home in rehearsals (by live online broadcasting that can also be followed from home, or make recordings of the rehearsals that can be used also for practicing at home, etc.)
The most important is to keep the risk of possible infection to a minimum. It is always the duty and responsibility of the ensemble’s leader or the head of institution.
We are confident that we shall pass this difficult period as soon as possible, we wish everyone endurance and good health!