Choral performances face uncertainty due to COVID-19

Posted at 7:28 PM, May 27, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The spring slate for the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus has been postponed indefinitely because of COVID-19. Virtual rehearsals have been happening online, but they've certainly presented some challenges.

"Because of WiFi and signal strength and all of that, it's never going to be synchronous," music director Dr. Adam Luebke said. "You can't have people signing at the same time while their microphones are unmuted. Everybody's got to be muted."

A panel put together by the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) presented several roadblocks for choruses and choirs everywhere to overcome. Masks and PPE aren't safe for singers. But without them, six feet of social distancing isn't enough.

To fit the entire Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus into a space with six feet of social distancing each, they'd have to be spaced out on a basketball court. To allow the 15 to 20 feet discussed on NATS's panel, they would need a football field.

"Can we create a space that is safe for singers?" Luebke asked. "If we can't, then we wont gather. Our priority is the health of our singers and our audience."