How do you perform with a choir during the COVID-19 pandemic? At Valpo, the answer is: with great care and forethought.
The Kantorei of the Chapel of the Resurrection, like other large-group choirs, is limited to gathering as a whole ensemble outside for no more than 30 minutes, with all of the members masked. Dr. Sunghee Kim, Assistant Professor of Music and Frederick J. Kruse Organ Fellow, conducted a recent outdoor rehearsal of “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” with the choir members; the recording captured the sound of a plane passing overhead, as well as crickets and birds adding their voices. Most rehearsals are done with only small groups of four to eight students.
How do you sing while wearing a face mask? Dr. Kim has members of the Kantorei wearing clear face masks, which enable her to see their lips as they sing. There is a second brand of face mask being studied, which allows the singer to have more air movement within the mask.
Worship services at the Chapel for 2020-21 are fully complying with all COVID-19 protocols established by Valparaiso University in dialogue with Chapel staff. As part of that, music is provided by non-wind instrument ensembles, organists and a maximum of four cantors. Members of the Kantorei are serving as cantors for Sunday morning worship at the Chapel and for Morning Prayer, especially on what was previously the traditional Matins service. Their singing is done from the gallery, far from the congregation, and there is no congregation singing, except at outdoor services where the singers are wearing masks.
Read more “pandemic perspectives,” including what it’s like to be a collegiate pastor, by Pastor Jim.