The Harrisburg Choral Society, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, has taken the safety and health of our members and guests seriously. The Society elected to terminate their 2019-20 season early, and further elected to suspend our 2020-21 season. We opted to remain idle while the pandemic and its associated restrictions were in place, and the Society also recognized that singing is an activity that can be a source of infection for an assembled group. The Society's leadership is confident that their decisions to suspend activities for the past 16 months were the correct ones.
With the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines, continued diligence with managing the pandemic, and loosening of federal and Commonwealth mandated restrictions, the Harrisburg Choral Society is positioned to resume it's regular in-person activities for the upcoming 2021-22 Season.
The Music Director and Board, with advisement from medical professionals and guidance from professional organizations such as Chorus America, the American Choral Directors Association, and the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the Society has outlined the following guidelines for our rehearsals and performances:
The Harrisburg Choral Society requires all members, staff, and associated participants to be fully vaccinated as a requirement to practicing and performing in-person for the 2021-22 Season. All participants will complete a Vaccination Declaration form, which will indicate their vaccination status (or non-status for members unable to be vaccinated). The HCS Board will file this information for record-keeping. Unvaccinated members with a legitimate medical concern will be able to participate in rehearsals virtually (see below), but will not be able to participate in concert performances with the Society.
The HCS is also requiring singers to be masked during practices and, if deemed necessary, during performances. The Society recommends a comfortable mask that covers both mouth and nose, and provides space to allow singing motions while the mask remains in place. The mask requirement will be continuously reviewed during the season, and if circumstances allow us to loosen our masking requirements the Board and Music Director will make that determination.
Additionally, all singers will complete a Release of Liability in the case of someone coming to a rehearsal or performance, knowingly or unknowingly, infected with COVID-19. The Harrisburg Choral Society will not be held responsible if a member contracts the virus at an HCS sponsored event. It is the hope of the board that singers will work in coordination with taking all precautions seriously and honestly. As a COMMUNITY Choral Society, we must keep our community as safe as possible.
We are also asking our staff and members to be diligent with their actions during our operating season: Our music director will ensure singers maintain distance during rehearsals, and will include "fresh air" breaks to allow members to leave the rehearsal space during sessions. The Society also asks all our members to monitor your own health: If you feel ill, please stay home rather than attending rehearsal. If you find you have had contact with someone COVID-19 positive, please stay home if you are unsure of your own exposure or if you have a positive test.
The Harrisburg Choral Society will be setting up a Zoom Virtual Rehearsal session every week for those members who are unable to join rehearsals in person. A Zoom session will begin at the start of each rehearsal, containing four “breakout rooms” corresponding to our voice parts. Members can connect to these rooms to listen to the rehearsal and view instruction and direction. While we appreciate our loyal members who want to attend every rehearsal, and the HCS wishes high attendance from all our singers, we must maintain the health and safety of all our members. The Zoom Virtual Rehearsal will ensure members who must miss rehearsals are able to keep up with our music preparation.
The Harrisburg Choral Society is excited to be back to singing together, and with our efforts towards safety and diligent monitoring we can perform with confidence!