Please can the government stand up for non-professional choral singing?

Please read the letter that I am sending to my MP today.

Making Music has just published details of its own campaign, and parliamentary question with notes.

Sign the petition at Change.org – Let Choirs Start Singing Again: Singing Will Rebuild National Well-Being

____

You may be aware of the Stage 3 guidance issued by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) this week concerning the specific restrictions on non-professional choral singing. I feel that such activity has been singled out for harsh treatment.

All the industry organisations (for example Making Music) had been briefed by DCMS that the restrictions would be the same as they were from July to November 2020, namely that non-professional choral singing would be permitted, within constraints such as bubbles.

Accordingly, just about every choir in the country made arrangements to resume in-person singing this week in subgroups of 30 or so. Please note that there are over 2,000,000 choral singers in the UK.

Instead, we have suddenly been informed by DCMS that non-professional singing is only allowed for up to six people, irrespective of the size or nature of the space, the arrangements in place or the demographic involved. The choir I sing with had elaborate safety plans and risk assessments all ready to go. This has all been for nothing.

Since the initial scapegoating of singing as the villain of the Covid disaster, there has been solid research carried out under the auspices of Public Health England about the risks and how they can be managed. Singing groups have responded to this research wholeheartedly.

For the restrictions to be more stringent than they were last November does not make sense. Case numbers have fallen, asymptomatic testing is well established, and given the demographic of the vast majority of UK choirs, where membership is predominantly in the 50+ age range, only a very small minority remains unvaccinated.

There’s no logic to all this. It’s legal to sing in a crowd at football matches. You can go to a pub and sing. Anyone can sing in the street – but not if you’re in a choir. It is not logical for choral singing, in a well ventilated, controlled space with 2m social distancing, to be considered to be riskier than going to the pub or a gym. Brass bands can get together but amateur singers can’t. And Public Health England hasn’t stated that singing should be banned.

I would be obliged if you could take my concerns to the relevant minister (Caroline Dinenage) directly, and also consider asking a parliamentary question. It would be great if you could let me know whether you can support me in this respect.

____

Parliamentary question: see Making Music’s briefing on this
Caroline Dinenage is the Minister of State for Digital and Culture

 

Ads
Event Search