The Spanish Association of Choir Directors (AEDCORO) is made up of more of 120 directors and directors, all of them leaders of choral groups belonging to different cultural and educational sectors of our country. In recent months, the entire sector has made an effort of national cooperation and unprecedented international exchange of information and scientific studies, around the mandatory forms of prevention against COVID-19 in choral practice face-to-face, in order to continue the activity safely. In this sense, we want to highlight that some CCAA have approved protocols listening to professionals in the sector and collaborating with health experts. For this reason, there are numerous choral groups in our country that have taken up the face-to-face activity in recent weeks, following the aforementioned guidelines.
According to the European Choral Association-Europa Cantat (ECA-EC), 2.4% of the population in Spain (more than a million people) sings in a choir. February 19th of 2018, the Senate issued an institutional declaration recognizing the choral activity as a cultural asset of our society and the figure of the choral conductor as an indispensable element within it, showing his support for the initiatives that they pursue their encouragement. Likewise, numerous studies have shown the benefits for physical and mental health and well-being associated with the practice of collective singing, as well as its importance for the development of music education and social cohesion.
Unfortunately, for the last few months we have observed how the choral singing was news in several national and international media,showing this activity as supposedly potentiating a greater degree of transmission of COVID-19.
We want to emphasize that, currently, there is no scientific study that concludes that coral activity poses a greater risk of contagion than any other social activity, if prevention measures are adopted. Infections known and reported by the media in choral groups, occurred in the days before the governments confined the population, in a context of free circulation of the virus and without the adoption of security measures and distance.
Currently, there is no evidence of infections in choral rehearsals where prevention protocols have been established; neither in Spain, nor in any other European country.
Thus, with the horizon of the beginning of the school year in the month of September, we understand that there is no reason supported by the evidence scientific to restrict or cancel the choral activity face to face, or not to take the necessary measures that allow its optimal development both in educational and cultural environment. Otherwise will be in danger the job of many conductors, as well as other benefits related with choral singing.
For all these reasons, we call on the competent Administrations to:
- Design, establish and approve the necessary protocols to adapt the choral activity to the new normality, equivalent to any other collective, in coordination with the sector and its representatives (conductors, associations, federations, concert halls, cultural centers, churches, schools, conservatories, universities, etc.).
- Guarantee the quality of music education for the 2020/2021 academic year and successive, making the adaptations to offer continuity to the curricular subjects related to collective singing, as well as any another school choral singing program attached to teaching centers in general.
- Ensure the health of professionals and teachers, making the appropriate modifications of ratios and schedules, and / or authorizing the use of spaces alternatives for carrying out activities that involve a greater number of students.