Rachael Beale


25 June 2020

Singing Together, Apart

After a performance of Bach’s St John Passion in the Concertgebouw on 8 March, 102 of the 130-strong Amsterdam Gemengd Koor fell ill. Forty-five members of the Skagit Valley Chorale in Mount Vernon, Washington, were diagnosed with Covid-19 within three weeks of their last rehearsal, also in mid-March. Singing is thought to be an especially effective method of coronavirus dispersion. Infective droplets are spread by people talking; droplets spread further when people talk louder; singing is like a very loud form of talking. It’s debatable – and far from proven – that singing may also produce lingering aerosols, and therefore a higher risk of mass spreading. Theatres and concert halls can reopen in England from 4 July, but live performances won’t be allowed.

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