England has now come under Step 3 of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown. Whilst this provides good news for live performance events, amateur choirs have been hit with what we feel are unnecessary restrictions on numbers when rehearsing indoors.
We have been in contact with the DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) today to ask that they review their latest guidance which allows for just one single group of six singers indoors. Officials from DCMS have written back saying that they will discuss the issue internally and get back to us as soon as possible.
As Phil Kear, MU Assistant General Secretary, says:
"We have registered with the DCMS our dissatisfaction with this particular restriction on indoor singing, plus underlined its potential effect on many of our members. We will continue to press ministers for a relaxation as soon as possible. Organised amateur sport can go ahead with unlimited numbers indoors, subject to building capacity, and we are at a loss to understand why choirs have been singled out under the guidance at this time.”
Andi Hopgood, MU member and choir leader says:
“This outcome is particularly galling as amateur choirs and their leaders were led to believe that we would be permitted to rehearse and perform indoors in groups of up to thirty, with distancing and risk assessments in place. So many have spent time and money on preparations and invested in equipment, so it seems very unfair for the choral community to be penalised in this way. It feels like we are the only musicians that still cannot return to work. So many participants rely on group sessions for friendships and wellbeing, it is literally a lifeline for them.”