One of the most common questions I am asked is about singing during Covid. Unfortunately, I don’t have many positive answers. Current research shows that communal singing is one of the most dangerous activities during the pandemic. While singers intake more air, and send it out quickly, they generate respiratory aerosols at high rates.
“You have the air that’s coming out on your respiratory tube, your mouth, and your nose, and there’s some liquid that’s lining all of your respiratory system,” says Jose-Luis Jimenez, a voice professor at the University of Colorado, where the university is doing a renowned, six month study on singing during Covid.
“And when the air is going very quickly,” Jimenez continues, alluding to the force with which singers and some instrumentalists expel air, “it can basically grab a little bit of that material and put it in a particle, and then you expel it out into the air. That’s what happens. So anything that makes the air go faster or more strongly or produce more air is putting out more respiratory particles. If you’re singing, you’re breathing in a lot of air, you’re breathing out very forcefully, and you’re also moving your vocal cords. The vocal cords are wet, they’re covered in this fluid, they’re vibrating, and that can also produce more particles.”
I read one article that stated that even with masks in an outdoor football field, singing is still dangerous. So, unfortunately, this means that the FCC choir will not be meeting in person for the foreseeable future. We will have regular meetings on Zoom through the fall and winter, and continue to put together fabulous ‘virtual choir anthems’ (look for one in the coming weeks!). But to make matters even more frustrating, platforms like Zoom aren’t equipped to enable people to sing together in sync: due to varying internet speeds, distance, etc., even a simple “Happy Birthday” song turns into a garbled mess.
So….for now, sing in the shower, sing on your front porch, sing along to the hymns on our service videos! And we’ll all appreciate singing together even more when the time comes. Hang in there!
Director of Music Ministries