Adjusting to life without singing… by Jeanne Palmer

Adjusting to Life Without Singing: Jeanne Palmer

For most singers, the act of singing together, hearing each part weaving through the texture of
the piece and hearing your voice blending with others is fulfilling, meditative, relaxing and
calming. It’s way to forget about everyday stresses.

Many of us in the Sierra Master Chorale are finding it difficult not to have our usual weekly
rehearsal fix of singing together, especially during this stressful time of Covid. For most of us it
is one of the most important aspects of our lives. We are able to concentrate on singing and
breathing and leave the rest of the world behind. One of our singers explained that “I sing
because it is therapeutic. Singing infuses a sense of calm and satisfaction that brings me
peace”. Another describes singing as “enriching my soul and filling my mind and heart with
joy.”

But, singers are super spreaders. We breathe from deep in our diaphragms and project our
sound out into the space around us, the perfect set up for spreading a virus. For that reason,
the Sierra Master Chorale, as well as other choruses in the community, will have to wait, and
will most likely be last to come back to rehearsing and performing live. The National
Association of Teachers of Singing put out clear guidance and a bleak vision of choral singing
during the Covid pandemic. There is no way to social distance while singing in a chorus. And,
Despite the development of some specialized singing masks, they can also be problematic. All
of the experts recommend that choral groups wait to rehearse and perform until a vaccine and
a 95% effective treatment is developed.

Getting up on the risers with a group of men and women singing together, breathing together,
listening and harmonizing together, all working together with the conductor to make the most
beautiful music possible brings us enormous joy. We’ll keep zoom singing together, but we
can’t wait to get back.

Jeanne Palmer is an alto in the Sierra Master Chorale, the chair of the SMC Coordinating Committee, and a board member of InConcert Sierra.

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