Singing Together in the times of Covid 19

Singing Together in the times of Covid 19

Posted by Robbin Roshi Rose on Mar 11th 2020

I want to pause a moment, and acknowledge this moment we are living in. Fears about a public health crisis and an unsteady economy can increase anxiety that can be hard to shake, and I'm sure that some people reading this have already been touched personally by these issues. We are lucky to have the distraction of musical creation to empty ourselves into on a daily basis. Creating music is a proven wellness and immune boosting activity -

How do we relate to being perched on this precipice? For me, it is primarily as a mother, as a singer and choir administrator, and as a small business owner. And it all centers around one thing - acknowledging a lack of control. I can't control how this plays out, who it will impact, when it will feel less scary, and how our business and the livelihoods of our small team will weather a challenging economy. In reality, the feeling of control is always false - we have all had experiences in our lives where everything changed in a moment.

So, I am choosing to lean into gratitude and trust - gratitude for the health care workers who are risking their own well-being to work to keep the most vulnerable people safe and protected, trust that our communities will come together instead of panic driving us apart. And trust also in our wonderful musical communities - that we will weather this storm right along with the rest of our world, that you will be here for us, and that we will be here for you.

One of the most important recommendations (after “wash your hands, I mean it!”) in containment of the Covid-19 virus is to be vigilant about physical distancing. Most recommend remaining a meter from other people in any social setting (grocery shopping, group events). This significantly limits the ability of ensemble musicians to rehearse in the manner we are accustomed! Breathing together is one of the fundamental necessities of ensemble work, and we depend upon being able to lean in and listen well to our musical co-creators. At a time when we need more than ever to come together and make music, it’s proving almost impossible- My choirs are trying out “virtual rehearsals” this week using Zoom meeting. Other choirs I have talked with have tried using FaceBook live video for the same reason. We are also watching things closely, as our spring concerts may have to be cancelled. 

Here are a few other things that are helpful for me: morning playlists & creating gratitude lists, drilling myself and then singing along with recordings of my current choral repertoire. Will we be able to sing in concert together this spring? I don’t know, but I will continue hold that vision and practice “as if.” Cooking – more time at home means I can be more creative with meals, and we are certainly appreciative! (hint: look up Melissa Clark’s Pretzel Shortbread cookies. You won’t regret it!) And I am following ChorusAmerica and ChorusConnection on Facebook to connect with and share information between choirs about how we forge ahead through this crisis, and continue creating community through music!

Other things to help us through this include using humidifiers – viruses do not thrive in a higher humidity environment as long as you keep the air circulating – use fans, open windows if the temperature permits. The more stagnant the air, the more likely viruses spread. Of course, take your vitamins, especially Vitamin C (500mg-1000mg) get chewable tablets and pop one a couple of times a day. Similarly, chewable Zinc tablets are handy, and shown to help reduce viral replication in the throat.

About Robbin: Most of my adult life, I have worked as a vocal/choral musician – and for many of those years, I held more than one job because the “music job” needed supplemental income. I am fortunate to work with my husband, Jon as owners of MyMusicFolders.

For almost a decade, I managed a small specialty medical office, and in addition to administrative duties, did medical (library) research and wrote health education monographs for our clients, and a monthly Women’s Health column for a regional magazine. I also owned an independent bookstore for many years – and I admit I relish having more books on my to-read list than I will ever finish!!  Currently I manage Montana's premiere adult choir, Dolce Canto, and still participate in various capacities with the 4 Missoula Community Chorus groups I founded :-)