Excerpt from September 5, 2020 article by the Winnipeg Free Press
Written by: Randall King, Frances Koncan, Alan Small, Eva Wasney & Jen Zoratti
From the outset, public health orders deemed singing a high-risk activity for virus transmission, but the Manitoba Choral Association is hoping the government will change its tune.
“There are steps that you can take to mitigate the spread of the virus, like wearing masks and limiting your time and your rehearsal space, making sure you have good ventilation,” says executive director Jenny Steinke-Magnus.
The MCA represents nearly 200 school, community and church choirs across the province — all of which have had to cancel their 2020 seasons amid the pandemic. The organization recently pulled the plug on two of its flagship events: ChoralFest, a two-week adjudicated event set to take place in November; and Provincial Honour Choirs, scheduled for February.
“We know that many of our members are very disappointed,” Steinke-Magnus says. “We are going to be trying to replace them, but you can’t really replicate those experiences online.”
For one, choir is all about people singing together, and also, video chat platforms aren’t exactly conducive to choir rehearsals.
“The technology hasn’t quite advanced enough to reduce the lag time,” Steinke-Magnus says.“ (And) that social aspect is really, really important for people… yes, you can see each other and talk to each other, but it’s just not the same as singing together.”
To fill the programming gap, the MCA is planning a series of online choral-related webinars and workshops.