In tune with Centers for Disease Control and Protection recommendations, HVC postpones 60th Anniversary Concert
By now you are likely aware of the increased urgency surrounding the new COVID-19 pandemic, and the calls from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health authorities to adopt “social distancing” practices as a key step to limit the spread of the virus. While so far central New Jersey is not going through the public health crises seen elsewhere, in recent days many planned public gatherings in the state have been cancelled, and businesses, colleges, schools, and other organizations are shifting to on-line meetings or curtailing activities.
As explained in the CDC’s latest Community Mitigation Strategies publication, organizations such as our Chorus, the recommended practices include limiting or cancelling face-to-face gatherings, particularly for organizations serving individuals at high risk for severe illness from the virus (see page 7). Our Chorus does include a significant number of high-risk individuals, and many of us also have family members or other loved ones who are particularly at risk. We are also a community chorus, that has always cherished our role in the local community and has understood that it comes with responsibilities.
All of which is prelude to tell you that last night, the HVC Board of Directors decided to discontinue our in-person Monday night rehearsals for the rest of this season, and cancel our 60th Anniversary “Carmina Burana” concert that was scheduled for May 30th (with plans to reschedule it to May 2021). In a separate decision made jointly by HVC and the Trenton Children’s Chorus (TCC), the upcoming Spring Into Song benefit concert scheduled for March 29th has also been cancelled. Instead, HVC will collaborate with TCC to develop an on-line fundraising campaign to continue financial support for TCC’s summer “campership” programs; more details will be provided soon.
“61 IS THE NEW 60!”
The decision about HVC’s season was made only after a long and careful deliberation by the Board, informed by recent developments, the CDC’s recommendations, and a very thorough explanation of the public health perspective from Dr. Rachael Evans, a long-time Chorus member (soprano) who is the Chief Medical Officer for the H.J. Austin clinic in Trenton. Additional factors that persuaded us were the great uncertainties surrounding concert ticket sales and attendance, and our continued use of the HV Regional School District’s facilities for rehearsals and the concert (which was to be held in the Central High School’s Performing Arts Center).
As painful as it was to take that step, the Board’s decision was unanimous, with Artistic Director Heather Mitchell’s full support: we all felt it was the right decision, at the right time, to protect the health of our membership, our families and loved ones, and the community as a whole. As one Board member eloquently expressed it, this is being done as an act of love, not one of fear.
On the positive side, Heather has agreed to work with us to find ways to keep the Chorus engaged and learning through the remainder of the season. While it doesn’t seem possible to conduct rehearsals on-line, we are exploring how we could use on-line tools to make presentations on musical topics, improve our vocal techniques, and stay connected during our customary Monday evening time slots.
While we are as disappointed as you must be to see our season impacted in these ways, we have great faith that the Chorus will rebound from this as strong as ever, and that we will soon again be singing beautiful music together.