Like many cultural organisations, Alresford Community Choir has halted all live singing opportunities during the 'lockdown'. Since the beginning of September and now in October, with a change in government guidelines and rules, ACC is seeking to provide live singing experiences for those members who wish to take part. The following sets out our own Rules for such an opportunity.
Alresford Community Choir Safe Return to Singing
Of necessity this is a long document, BUT the main points of these
Rules are to emphasise that you:
do not attend the rehearsal if you feel unwell
go straight to your allocated seat, at the start of the practice, and
do not move away from it
do not mingle at the rehearsal
strictly follow Keith Clark’s instructions
bring a torch for the car park and 100 Carols for Choirs and
• PLEASE READ THIS DOCUMENT CAREFULLY.
These notes are provided to support the ‘return to singing’, of the Alresford Community Choir, following the ‘Lock-down’ from March to September 2020. They sit alongside guidance from the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport, those from Making Music, and the choir’s own risk assessments to enable a safe return to singing.
These guidelines will be continually reviewed and revised, to follow new guidance, and in response to our own experiences, with careful regard, at all times, for the safety and care of all members, accompanist, vocal coach and choral director.
Participants are encouraged to email the Choral Director, or Trustees, with any concern that they may have about these guidelines, or with any suggestions that they may have for improvement in the arrangements.
We will create a safe opportunity for ACC to hold a live singing experience that will help us to constantly review our guidelines and for all further events for the choir membership, during the pandemic, and until such rules and regulations are relaxed.
Rules and Guidance
Numbers of participants
No more than 30 individuals, including all staff, may attend. There will be no observers, visitors, or other parties, allowed. Anyone administering the event, perhaps acting as welcome and providing registration of arrivals, must be included in the total of 30.
The Choral Director, will invite singers to each rehearsal, and provide a copy of these notes to all those who accept the invitation. Should the need arise, where those invited may be unavailable or unwilling to attend, the Choral Director will continue to invite individuals, paying careful attention to the maximum number allowed, and balance of SATB parts.
If you display COVID 19 symptoms and/or have tested COVID 19 positive you must not accept an invitation to attend a rehearsal.
Before the Rehearsal
Agreement to Guidance
You must agree to attend a rehearsal by email, and this will be taken to signify your agreement to these “Rules and Guidance” terms, and acceptance for making your own decision to attend, before the practice. In particular, this agreement includes your acceptance that, whilst the ACC has taken all reasonable steps to ensure the rehearsal space is as COVID secure as possible, it is not possible to guarantee a 100% COVID free environment and that there is a remote possibility of transfer of the virus.
Provision of Emergency Contact details
In the email agreeing to the terms of this document, please provide the name and telephone number of someone we can contact in the event of you being taken ill during the rehearsal, together with your own contact number. This information will be used in the event of ACC being required to implement “track and trace” protocols.
At the Rehearsal
When attending the rehearsal you will wear a mask, or similar face covering fit for purpose, on arrival, during registration, and when going to your allocated seat seated at the start of the practice, and, again, prior to departure from the rehearsal. The Choral Director or Vocal Coach will advise you when you may remove, and when you must replace your masks, during the rehearsal. You will replace your masks at the end of the rehearsal before leaving your seat for departure.
Hand sanitiser will be available at the start and end of the rehearsal and you are encouraged to use this on arrival and departure. Please bring your own sanitiser and make frequent use of it, as you wish.
On arrival you will register your attendance and you will be assigned a seat number.
You must go directly to the seat allocated to you and stay in that space, whether standing or sitting, for the duration of the practice. You will only stand or sit when requested to do so by the Choral Director or Vocal Coach. You must not move from your allocated seat as it will have been placed a statutory 2m from any other seat.
Coats and Umbrellas
You must keep all possessions with you, throughout the practice, and take them away at the end. Windows and doors will be open to provide as much ventilation as possible, so you are advised to wear clothes, such as zipped tops, that can be worn when required, without too much physical movement.
Bring a copy of 100 Carols for Choirs (Oxford), as no music will be provided at the rehearsal and sharing is not possible.
You will receive guidance, at the start of the rehearsal, which is intended to minimise the risk of generating “droplets”, as a result of singing. These will include positioning of the body and head, whether sitting or standing, use of lesser dynamics, and reduction of hard consonant articulation. You are encouraged to warm-up before arrival at the hall, although a gentle warm-up will be provided.
Toilets are available for use at the hall. You are requested to use these only if absolutely necessary and, if you do need to use the facilities, will be required to sanitise the facility after use.
Should you wish to gain the attention of the Choral Director or Vocal Coach, you should raise your arm, to seek assistance for any reason, musical or otherwise.
You must leave the venue, at the end of the practice, as directed by the Choral Director and/or Vocal Coach whilst maintaining 2m distance from other participants. You must wear a face covering and move away from the exit to allow others to leave safely and quickly. You are reminded that there must be no ‘mingling’ or social interaction within the venue, hall or porch, or outside in the car park, A torch will be most useful as there is little external lighting in the car park area.
After the Rehearsal
Testing COVID 19 Positive
Should you develop COVID 19 symptoms within 28 days following the rehearsal, you MUST inform the Choral Director immediately.
Track and Trace
If another participant develops COVID 19 symptoms within 28 days of a rehearsal you will be contacted by the Choral Director and may be required to self-isolate for the Government prescribed period.
The rehearsal will take place at Ropley Village Hall, specifically chosen
for this purpose, and thus enabling the safest possible event.
The space is airy, bright, well ventilated, and has a good acoustic.
Car parking is plentiful to meet our needs and the space is airy, bright, well ventilated, and has a good acoustic.
Risk Assessments have been completed and are available on our website. The venue will be sanitised once all participants have left.
This event is expected to last for approximately one hour and fifteen minutes, from 7.45pm, allowing 10 - 15 minutes for registration and seating and approximately one hour for singing.
There will be no break
Participants are encouraged to bring their own, sealed, water bottle
and must take their bottle away with them at the end.
Review of the Rehearsal
All participants will be asked to contribute to a review of the rehearsal to inform planning for further practices, sectionals and workshops.
The generally accepted description of a Community Choir is:
A vocal ensemble that sings a wide-ranging repertoire, secular and sacred, styles and of genres of all times including light and pop music, classical and jazz, with folk songs and spirituals... typically arranged for the tastes and abilities of the singers. This type of choir will not audition but welcome all comers, will be totally inclusive, and will encourage an enthusiasm for singing in all members. The choir itself is the community!
With over 120 members, the Alresford Community Choir is one of the largest community choirs in England.
Alresford is a small market town, so what is the choir doing that makes it appealing to so many local people?
It seems to boil down to the community ethos and spirit of those who sing in it. According to its own members – it’s hugely welcoming, open-minded and social, and everyone has an awful lot of fun while singing wonderful music.
Founded by our Director Keith Clark in 2012, the inclusive, community nature of this secular choir was always an important part of his longer-term vision.
The choir is very inclusive. It doesn’t do auditions. It doesn’t need people to be able to read music, although it does run workshops for those who are keen to learn. You don’t have to have sung in a choir before, but if you’re in the mood for a spot of personal improvement, you can take part in vocal coaching sessions.
However, don’t be fooled. Standards are high, and getting better every year as the choir grows in numbers, energy and passion, rising to the various challenges set by its Director.
A great deal of pleasure, for both choir members and our audience, comes from its joyful breadth of repertoire. From secular to sacred and all the way back again, you never quite know what to expect next. From old American spirituals, past familiar West End show tunes, via ancient Russian hymns and fast-paced modern cantatas written just for community choirs, right the way to its stunning performance of Handel's Messiah in 2017.
Keeping its audience thoroughly entertained, it hosts regular sell-out performances at Alresford’s St John’s Church as well as venues such as Winchester Cathedral, the Watercress Festival, Arundel Cathedral, St. Swithun’s School and the Alresford Music Festival.
New members are always very welcome. If you would like to come and have go, just let us know when to expect you.
There are no auditions to join Alresford Community Choir and our membership spans a huge range of musical experience and interests. However, don't be fooled, standards are high! Listen to us during our spectacular Messiah performance.
The choir started the new term starting on September 14th
All live rehearsals and workshops are cancelled until further notice but we do all we can to keep activities going in some form and to prepare live singing events when and where we can!
Although we are not meeting for our usual practices, workshops and concerts at the moment, if you want to know more about how to join, and for up-to-date detailed information, including about our membership subscriptions, please go to Join Us!
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