We are pleased to announce that, after an extensive review of the risks and other issues, Hampstead Chorus intends to resume in-person rehearsals at UCS after half-term on 3 November 2021. Providing there is no adverse change in the development of the virus or in Government regulations/advice, we plan to continue through to the end of this term and, we hope, beyond.

We are starting cautiously, and we have agreed with UCS that we will initially restrict numbers to 50 in total.

Coming to rehearsals if you have already signed up for this term:

This means that we will initially offer a space for attendance in person to those who have already signed up this term for rehearsals of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. You should have received an email from the Chair asking you to sign up and explaining subscriptions. If you have not received this email, please check your spam folder and/or contact us. The cost for the half term will be £30.  Further details for the term are available here.

Coming to rehearsals if you sing with us regularly:

If you sing with us regularly but have not yet signed up for this term, there may be space for you, but please do not just turn up to a rehearsal as we may have to turn you away. You should have received an email from the Chair attaching a form which asks whether you are interested in taking one of these places, which we plan to allocate on a first come/first served basis. If you are allocated a place, we will send you an invitation to attend. Please make sure that emails from the choir do not go into your spam folder. If you have not received the email, please contact us.

If you are on our mailing list or would like to join it:

We are inviting others on our mailing list to put their names on a waiting list in case spaces become available. Please do not come to a rehearsal unless you have had confirmation there is a space for you.  If you would like to go onto our mailing to find out about future plans, please contact us.

Continuation of online rehearsals

We are also continuing to offer a Zoom alternative for the remainder of this term for those who are shielding or who do not yet feel comfortable about meeting in person. Places for online rehearsals are not limited in number. Although online rehearsals will not include the full experience of communal singing, participants have found it a good way to practice/learn the music and to stay in touch with the choir. If you are interested in online rehearsals and have not received an email from us, please let us know via our contact form. The cost will be £10 for the half-term.

We are constantly keeping matters under review and hope to widen our group of singers next term, so please look out for further emails.

Rehearsal procedures

We have reviewed the risks of singing in our usual locations at UCS. We have concluded that the ventilation can be enhanced by the opening of doors and windows to ensure sufficient air movement to dispose of the aerosols that current research indicates represent the main risk of transmittal. Rehearsals may be a bit cold but safer. Additionally, we will be reviewing the build-up of CO2 – a proxy for poor ventilation – during rehearsals, but initial work with a school choir suggests the levels are likely to be within Government approved limits.

We will be asking those who come to rehearsals:

  • to wear masks while moving around the school buildings, although wearing a mask while singing will be optional.
  • not to socialise inside (historically an important feature of the choir’s activities) but you will be able to see your friends and chat outside
  • to respect the simple set of Guidelines on behaviour intended to protect us all. We will send these guidelines to those who have been allocated a rehearsal space.

We hope that compliance with these measures will make our rehearsals safer. We also hope that you will gain reassurance from our risk assessment and our proposed measures.

We look forward to seeing you all over the coming months and a return to some sort of normality.