AVA COVID-19 Recommendations
The Alabama Vocal Association is committed to the vital task of educating our students through the empirically tested medium of choral singing. The prodigious evidence that music is essential for the neurological, social and cultural development of our students not only suggests the continued instruction of our students is important but mandates we continue to do so. Current research from peer-reviewed journals and publications, as well as the endorsement of the Alabama Vocal Association Board of Directors, recommends the following for the safety of our students and teachers until such time a vaccine has been proven effective against COVID-19:
- Students and teachers should wear N95 masks for covering their nose and mouth while rehearsing in a closed space/classroom.
- Students and teachers should practice social distance protocols prescribed by the CDC and the WHO regardless of their rehearsal environment.
- Where possible, and with the safety of students as the primary concern, choral rehearsals should take place outdoors.
- If well-ventilated rehearsal areas are not feasible, an HEPA-type air purifier (such as a Winix 5300-2) is recommended for every 360 square feet of rehearsal space.
- Recommended rehearsals strategies should include wearing masks while singing or humming as a means for learning vocal parts.
- Finally, it is recommended that Fall/Winter concerts should not occur in a performance space where social distancing cannot be maintained for both the audience and the performers. Alternative solutions would include virtual concerts streamed live or recorded and made available via web services such as FaceBook Live or YouTube.
*These recommendations will be updated as more research becomes available.
From the President
It was good to see many of you at our virtual Fall Workshop in September. Thank you to Meg Jones, Hilen Wilson, Cameron Weiler, Chris Brown, and all who presented sessions. A special thanks to Jim Schaeffer, our interim webmaster for facilitating the online format for the workshop. At the general membership meeting, we voted on the wording in the AVA Handbook, which we feel clarifies the fact that directors are the experts who should decide the best voice parts for their students regardless of the students’ genders; there were no policy changes. Please visit the website to read the adopted Handbook revisions as well as the minutes of the meeting. Recordings of the sessions will be available on the website through October 11. We expect the newly revised AVA Handbook to be available online soon.
All-State Auditions are November 2-10. We will invite each registered student to join a Google Classroom through which we can communicate instructions with the student and accept recordings of their auditions. We will also send information to teachers through email. Please refer to the website for the official All-State repertoire lists, as there has been some confusion about All-State repertoire. Check your email on October 3 for a preliminary announcement as to how we plan to proceed with auditions based on the numbers of students who registered to audition.
The 2021 AMEA Conference will be January 21-23. The conference will be virtual, and to minimize time away from students, will be Thursday and Friday evenings and all day Saturday. This conference promises to be an event you will not want to miss. We will have live-streamed or recorded concerts of exemplary ensembles from our state as well as the live-streamed performance of our All-State Show Choir. Because this conference will be virtual, we have the unique opportunity to offer timely sessions by presenters from not only our state but from around the nation as well. I look forward to seeing you virtually at the conference.
All other spring semester activities are on track to happen as normal. However, your board is evaluating each event, listening to your concerns and recommendations, and considering the safety of our students. We will announce plans for all spring activities by mid-January. As always, please feel free to reach out to your district chair or me whenever you have a concern or idea that will benefit our students.