Update Briefing Notes

Russell has been looking at the guidelines, the numbers and in discussions with over 100 other choir leaders. Most important thing is keeping everyone safe, getting everyone back singing in a safe environment and inclusivity for everyone.

The government are putting out guidelines. They are only guidelines. Russell reads them all, and all the articles, many of which are subjective or non factual. We have to use common sense and things are very different to where we were 6 months ago. The only rule is that you can’t have any more than 30 people together at any one time currently. Everything else are guidelines and we have to put it all together and make judgments and decisions to move forward.

Many many choirs are already together in groups of 30 so we are behind in that respect, but we are in a much better place musically and in our support and solidarity. Russell wants to move us forward safely.

The bubbles were set up ready to start singing outside, but now the weather and the light have deteriorated which means that the second and third groups would be virtually impossible. Even if we made the bubbles earlier some members would be unable to join in due to work etc.  If 3 or 4 members were missing from a bubble then confidence would be affected with groups so small. Russell wants this to be a great experience for everyone.

So the great news is that we will be indoors in bubbles. The 3 venues have been confirmed and risk assessments have been completed. All have plenty of space and ventilation. The bubbles will be kept as they are, but if anyone else would now like to join a bubble then please let us know and we can get you added in. This must be advised by email no later than THURSDAY 10TH SEPTEMBER 2020. Consent forms will need to be completed.  Similarly if anyone would now like to withdraw from a bubble then they should let us know. Once the bubbles start, there will be no further changes until guidance allows those bubbles to be bigger which hopefully won’t be too long.

The original bubble guidelines in Backstage will still apply. Please refer to them as they have neen updated.

Aylesbury :- Rehearsals in Bubbles at Aylesbury Grammar School from Thursday 17th September – times as on the Bubble page in Backstage

St Albans:- Rehearsals in Bubbles at Spencer Hall, High Street, Sandridge AL4 9DD from Tuesday 15th September – times as on the Bubble page in Backstage. This will be until the middle of October initially.

Marlow:- Sadly we cannot use Elliot Hall as they are not deeming it to be Covid safe yet. So until it is, we will be using the Shelley Theatre, but only for one hour on Monday evenings. So on Monday 14th September, Bubble 1 will meet at Gilly’s,  outdoors at 6:40pm and Bubble 2 will be at the Shelley Theatre at 8:30pm. The following week the groups will swap so Bubble 2 will be outdoors at 6:40pm and Bubble 1 will be in the theatre at 8:30pm. If the outdoor rehearsal is cancelled for any reason, that group will need to make every effort to attend the Sunday online rehearsal that week. We realise this is not ideal and hopefully it will only be for a few weeks but it is the best arrangement available.

No Anna or Chris for a while. We will be working with the tracks only.

Rehearsals will be online every Sunday where all are welcome and this coming week there will be online rehearsals on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday online only.  There will be no Sunday rehearsal this week; these will begin on Sunday 20th September 2020.

As the guidelines change and things start easing up we will look to bring the groups together into larger bubbles at all stages putting safety first. There will be no breach of the bubble rules and policies. We have to take everything very seriously and keep everyone safe.

We have been approached to do performances before the end of the year both indoor and outdoor. Russell would love us to accept at least the outdoor ones if at all possible and if they are as safe as they can be.

Next year, so many projects are already in the pipeline, which is very exciting.

Arizona – We have a waiting list but there are more on the cancellation list than on the waiting list, so those who cancelled their place later are unfortunately very unlikely to get any or all of their money back at this point and the terms of booking stand. In time there will undoubtedly be people wanting to go on the trip and it could be that if your place isn’t taken now, it could be taken next year when perhaps we get some new members or existing ones now want to come. Up until next May someone may come along to take your place. If you decide to cancel now and perhaps try and claim on insurance, we will issue a cancellation invoice and that will be final. You will lose the option of having someone take your place and we urge you to be careful if you are trying to claim using the reason that you have chosen simply not to come on the trip.
We were over quota for the trip so although we have lost a few, we have gained a few and the numbers are still great for the trip. Russell is saddened that a number of people have decided they don’t want to go and he encourages them in particular to reconsider. The opportunity is amazing and we want everyone to experience the fantastic plans we have.

Those on the waiting list will have the opportunity to book in a couple of weeks time and we will be sending out information then.  We will also email those who are currnetly on the cancellation list to ensure they definitely don’t want to take part.

We have to start some Christmas music soon as we have to have some pieces ready for performances. We don’t have to do all Xmas rep but we do need some, and this will be combined with the music we have worked on during lockdown.

It is very important  those not elected to be in a bubble do the Sunday evenings each week. It will be the same pieces being worked on throughout the week.

Thank you so much for your continued support, patience and flexibility.  We need to remain vigilant, flexible and understanding as further changes are likely, but we will do everything we can to keep a safe and progressive environment for everyone in the choir.