Dear AAYC Families,
As we look forward to our 2020-2021 season, alongside the developing and swiftly changing circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to assure our AAYC children and families that safety remains our primary driving force in all AAYC practices and decisions. We are dedicated to providing a calm, supportive, and fulfilling choir community and singing experience that honors the AAYC mission to enrich the lives of children and our community through the vehicle of excellent singing and where children can safely make music during this time of uncertainty.
During this time of unparalleled circumstances, we’ve been asked to exercise responsiveness and adaptiveness as the science of COVID-19 continues to be discovered; our 2020-2021 choir season will also ask for our flexibility and nimbleness. Following the lead of Michigan public schools and universities, it is our intention to start the season with carefully structured in-person instruction. Initial feasibility looks promising. However, none of us can predict or guarantee precisely when we can safely gather to rehearse in person or present a live concert performance. We want to assure AAYC children and families that we will figure it out together.
Our fall instruction is being designed with the goal of creating an exciting virtual choir performance that will feature both Concert and Descant Choirs. This massive undertaking will benefit our choirs in a number of positive ways and will provide our singers with a genuine 21st century music-making and performing experience. We are currently researching the hire of a professional sound engineer to produce the artistry of technology required to assemble a stellar virtual performance.
While we all prefer and long for music-making in person, we would be remiss to not anticipate and plan for a potential interruption of in person gatherings. To that end, we are formulating plans to continue our music- making in a distanced format. Because we may have to pivot quickly in response to changes, we will be teaching our singers how to swiftly shift to a learning format that will be delivered via Zoom during our regular rehearsal times. When virtual learning is necessary, our weekly instruction will focus on developing vocal technique, performance poise/presentation, use of technology to create a performance, and preparing music for performance. To ensure accessibility of virtual learning for all members, we kindly welcome donations of gently used laptops/tablets. For our 21st century singers, the performing skills they will develop using this platform will be valuable tools for the increasingly technology-driven and virtual format of the workplace in their future.
Should we be able to gather for a live concert performance, we will do everything in our power to allow for that celebration, while employing safe practices. Should that not be possible, we will reframe the second part of the season in a format to allow our choirs to create a live stream type concert to share with our virtual audience.
Please read the pages following this letter for frequently asked questions regarding our response plan. Sincerely,
AAYC COVID-19 Response Plan: Frequently Asked Questions
1) Where will AAYC be rehearsing in the fall?
At this time, we are researching large auditorium or choir/orchestra rehearsal spaces (like those in schools) that will allow our singers to be safely distanced during rehearsals.
2) What safety checks will be in place at the rehearsal location?
- Facility cleaning: Upon identification of the rehearsal space, AAYC will work with the facility to review the adequacy of their cleaning and sanitization protocols.
- Face masks: Singers will be required to wear a face mask at all times, including when singing. Masks must be worn to cover the nose and mouth.
- Social distancing: Social distancing (6 feet or greater) will be expected at all times during arrival, rehearsal, and departure.
- Temperature screening: Temperatures will be taken and recorded by Choir Coordinators upon member arrival. Coordinators will wear face shields and gloves during check-in/screening. Any child registering a temperature over 100.4 F will be asked to return home. For this reason, parents will be required to park and accompany their child to the rehearsal entrance. Of note: we are actively researching facilities with adequate parking lots.
3) How will a rehearsal be conducted?
- Drop off / pick up: Upon identification of our rehearsal location, we will designate appropriate unidirectional entry/exits to minimize cross traffic and exposure during drop off and pick up.
- Assigned rehearsal spacing: Singers will have an assigned location within their rehearsal room that is socially distanced by 6’ or greater from the next closest singer. Members will be asked to avoid touching any surfaces other than their personal belongings.
- Parent observation: Due to capacity limitations and need to ensure our choir members can rehearse at a socially safe distance, parents will be unable to enter the rehearsal facility. Parents may elect to remain on site in the parking lot or surrounding areas.
- Feeling unwell during rehearsal: Should a singer exhibit signs or symptoms during rehearsal (see ‘symptom check’ below), the Coordinator will call a parent for immediate pick up and wait outside the rehearsal space with the singer until parent arrival.
- Restrooms: Restrooms will likely be open at the rehearsal facility, but we strongly encourage all members to use a restroom prior to arrival. Singers will be escorted to/from the restroom by a coordinator and only one member will be allowed in the bathroom at a time.
- Food and Water Bottles:
Descant Choir – No food or water bottles will be allowed in the rehearsal facility for Descant Choir; singers should have a nutritious snack prior to arrival that will sustain them for the 1 hour duration.
Concert Choir – Members will be required to provide their own snack for break during the 2.5 hour rehearsal. Water bottles must be pre-filled, non-spill, and clearly labeled with the singer’s name.
4) What items will be required for an in-person rehearsal?
To eliminate potential for spread of COVID, sharing of items will not be permitted.
Mandatory items needed to enter rehearsal:
- Temperature screen: Must register below 100.4 F
- mask: Provided by singer
- Music/music folder: Music/music folders will be provided by AAYC at the season start. Each singer must bring these items to every rehearsal.
- Pencil: A pencil will be supplied by AAYC in each singer’s folder at season start. Misplaced pencils are the responsibility of the member to replace throughout the season.
- Individual hand sanitizer: Provider by singer. If forgotten, singer must hand wash in restroom upon entry.
Other items needed for rehearsal:
- Water bottle/snack: Concert Choir only (see note above about food/water).
- Additional clothing items: As weather dictates.
5) What items will be required for a virtual rehearsal?
To participate in virtual rehearsals, the following items will be necessary for each singer to possess:
- Quiet, distraction- and interruption-free location
- Earbuds or headphones
- Device with Zoom software (phone, computer, etc…) * Hotspot or internet connectivity
- External microphone (for recording only): AAYC will make recommendations for affordable microphone solutions.Please contact AAYC if needing assistance to procure these items (email@example.com).
6) What about uniforms this season?
For the 2020-2021 season, AAYC will not be wearing their formal uniforms. When recording for virtual or live stream performances, singers will wear a red AAYC logo tee (provided by AAYC at season start to all members), black pants (no leggings please), and unadorned, black, closed toe, flat shoes.
7) How can parents help support their AAYC member this season?
Parental Support Prior to an In-Person Rehearsal:
In a season where there will be new ‘normal’ procedures, we are asking parents to work collaboratively with AAYC to help minimize disappointment and anxiety for singers at the rehearsal site by performing several ‘checks’ prior to leaving home:
Symptoms check: Please assess your child for COVID signs/symptoms prior to departing for rehearsal. Any child exhibiting symptoms may not attend rehearsal and should remain at home. Please notify your child’s Choir Coordinator of their absence.
From the CDC (as of July 1, 2020):
– Fever or chills
– Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
– Muscle or body aches
– New loss of taste or smell
– Sore throat
– Congestion or runny nose
– Nausea or vomiting
Seek emergency medical care immediately for:
– Trouble breathing
– Inability to wake or stay awake
– Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
– Bluish lips or face
– New confusion
Temperature pre-check: Please check your child’s temperature prior to departing for rehearsal. Any child registering a temperature over 100.4 F may not attend rehearsal and should remain at home. Please notify your child’s Choir Coordinator of their absence.
- Mandatory materials pre-check: To enter rehearsal, singers must have their own 1) face mask, 2) hand sanitizer (if forgotten, must hand wash upon entry), 3) music folder/music, and 4) pencil. Please double check that your singer has packed these items in their choir bag.
- Hand washing: Singers should wash hands at home. Remind your child of the importance of not touching their eyes, mouth with hands during rehearsal.
- Arrival time adjustment: Due to the care that will be exercised for members, parents and volunteers at check-in, we ask families to plan for timely arrival at rehearsal. Call time is 5:50pm; coordinators will be onsite as early as 5:40pm. An early arrival will help ensure that AAYC members are able to participate in a full length rehearsal.
Parental Support for Practicing at Home and for Virtual Rehearsals:
- Help your singer locate a quiet/consistent space to practice with online recordings each day and to focus during the virtual instruction sessions.
- Offer the supportive expectation that quality practice and active engagement in virtual instruction sessions are important parts of a young musician’s journey.
- Encourage your child to work through mistakes and keep working toward artistry.
- Allow mistakes to occur during practice or rehearsal without commentary or judgement.