By Christine Kastner, Executive Director, NCMC

By now, many of you have likely seen the news out of Tuesday Night’s NATS webinar. The event was held with leaders and support from the ACDA, Chorus America, Barbershop Harmony Society, and Performing Arts Medicine Association. The presenters gave an update about the immediate future of choral music rehearsals and performances, and we wanted to summarize it for you. To read a more thorough article recapping the webinar, click here. To watch the webinar in its entirety, click here. It is over two hours long.

SUMMARY: Until there is a COVID-19 vaccine, there is no safe way for choirs to rehearse (or perform) together in one space. Singers are “super-spreaders” and, therefore, corporate singing will be one of the last resumptions of pre-COVID activities. Experts say a vaccine could come in 2021 or possibly not until 2022.

You may see articles referring to UV lights or “air scrubbing,” but these measures will, likely, be a complete non-option for the NC Master Chorale – and also for any area choral groups, most likely.

To resume rehearsal, we would need to provide immediate and rapid testing to all singers and have every individual sign some form of broad liability waiver. There is no such testing yet, and. again, we will most likely not have access to it for some time after it exists.

So, this means that for the fall, at least, and possibly longer, we will not be able to have any concerts in our usual ways. The 2020-21 season will be very different, and we’re not sure what that look will be yet. Public performances are part of Phase Three of the reopening, and opinions vary widely on when that will be. We do know it won’t be soon. Once Phase Three commences, we will still have to deal with the restrictions and guidelines of individual venues where we may rehearse and perform, so there is a great deal of unknown.

We are exploring all options of performances and trying to stay nimble so we can respond to changes in guidance. Our priorities are 1) viable and manageable artistic and/or educational content for external consumption and 2) engagement for our singers.


This idea of singers as “super-spreaders” may be brand new information to some of you, and that may make the content of this email jarring, upsetting, and bleak. We’re very sorry. It’s not easy news to give or process. We also know that we have seen amazing support from our patrons, our board, and our donors – including many of YOU, who gave to NCMC for the first time as part of our April fundraiser. Thank you.

Music director Al Sturgis, director of operations Stephen Abner, the board, and I are diligently working to make sure you make music this fall and next spring, in whatever ways that are achievable and safe. Please know that we are here for you and have your health and need to sing at the top of our priority.

We miss you, and you are in our thoughts.

Christine Kastner, Executive Director

PS There’s light at the end of the tunnel, folks, and it’s not an oncoming train – to hear these singers still making music during these cloistered times, click here.