April 29, 2020

A Conversation: What Do Science and Data Say About the Near-Term Future of Singing?

Tuesday, May 5, 4:00-6:00 pm CST
M oderators: Tim Sharp, Allen Henderson, Catherine Dehoney , and Marty Monson

Guests include:

  • Dr. Donald Milton, Professor of Environmental Health, University of Maryland School of Public Health, with a secondary appointment in the School of Medicine, and currently conducting C.A.T.C.H. the Virus Study
  • Dr. Lucinda Halstead, laryngologist, founder/medical director of the Evelyn Trammell Institute for Voice and Swallowing at the Medical University of South Carolina & President-elect of PAMA (Performing Arts Medical Association)

Join us for a conversation with medical experts who will provide us context as we plan for the next phase of choral and singing life in the age of COVID-19.

  • What does medical science tell us about singing and how the virus is spread, and how might that relate to decisions we make?
  • Is there such a thing as a "safe" choir rehearsal and how might we best protect our chorus members and private voice students?
  • What does data tell us about our audiences and when they might return to hear us perform in a live setting?
  • What questions do we need to ask ourselves in formulating a plan for the future?

A performance of "Kafal Sviri" (arr. Petar Liondev) by the Texas Women's University Concert Choir (Joni Jensen, conductor) at the 2019 ACDA National Conference in Kansas City, MO.

The realities of our new “normal” are becoming more apparent each day as we end one semester and plan for the way things might look in the fall. Many things have changed and, as the “visionary adapters” that we are, we have taken things in stride and made necessary changes to our teaching, our communication, and our music-making. Those changes have pushed many of us far outside our comfort zones into places that we never thought about or ever wanted to be.

Ideas for teaching online swirl over social media. Virtual choirs continue to demonstrate the ability to sing “together” and somehow fill the need that people have to create music together . Zoom and other communication platforms have shown that instruction can continue. The technology that allows for all of this, though imperfect, is a wonderful gift available even to those of us who are not as technologically savvy as others.

People are also sharing information in new ways. Teachers are helping teachers, and music businesses have come to the aid of programs across the country. In the spirit of achieving a common goal, resources and ideas are being made available to help us continue. All of these adaptations speak to the spirit within our membership’s heart to share, to give, and to reach out through the choral art.

At the same time, these adaptations can never completely fulfill the artistic and educational objectives of the “in person” choral experience for singer, conductor/teacher, and audience. In fact, many might view these current adaptations as limitations. Click to read full post .

Lynne Gackle, ACDA National President

ACDA has signed on to a statement ( "The Arts Sector and COVID-19 Relief") calling on Congress and the Administration to support the arts sector as part of our country's economy:

"As Congress and the Administration consider additional forms of COVID-19 federal assistance that may be targeted or widespread, we urge support for relief that will sustain the arts sector’s unique capacity to support the U.S. economy, uplift the human spirit, and provide lifelong learning. . . . Investing in the arts sector is an investment in our nation’s capacity to drive economic activity, generate creative solutions to complex problems, support the health and well-being of communities, and educate and inspire lifelong learners."


  • Wisconsin Choral Directors Association is conducting Virtual Round Table Discussions on a regular basis, organized by interest (e.g., Middle Level Choir Directors, High School Choir Directors, Student Teachers/Cooperating Teachers). Each has two or three topics to be discussed. Past president Joy Paffenroth reports that they have been extremely well received, with the first high school director session hosting nearly 70 participants.

ACDA is hosting a webpage that is updated daily containing resources that are particularly useful for choral professionals: Resources for Choral Professionals During the Pandemic .

What is the funniest or most uplifting thing you've come across during this quarantine? Please reply to this email with something to share with your fellow choral professionals who, like you, are temporarily stuck inside with no choirs to conduct.

We are adding choirs to ACDA's Virtual Concert Halls daily. Have you submitted your choir yet? To do so, follow the instructions on this form and submit it with a YouTube link. While you're there, enjoy the wonderful playlists!
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