COVID-19 and resuming

Last update 1 September 2020. This post will be updated as new research information comes available. 

Since the State of Victoria’s Government declaration of the COVID-19 Pandemic State of Disaster in March 2020, the Grainger Wind Symphony has cancelled all rehearsals and concerts as required by the Federal and State government and health authorities. The regulation were eased to Stage 3 in May but Stage 4 State of Disaster was reinstated for 6 weeks starting in July.

The COVID-19 Pandemic is world wide. It is a new virus and much new research is being undertaken all around the world to understand it, find ways to mitigate the risk, to find a vaccine and learn to manage it.

The wind symphony will develop its COVID-19 policy based on mitigating the risk to its members, their families and audience member once the restrictions are lifted before we resume.

A number of significant scientific-based research has been undertaken. Here are links to some of the ones that are more relevant to instrumental musicians, large group performance and large group gatherings.

Recent research is focussing on aerosol generation activities have the potential to transmit COVID-19. A few are researching what happens when playing instruments and singing.

The University of Colorado Boulder aerosol laboratory is undertaking research support by a number of music and music education associations. Preliminary Report 2 (August 2020). Full presentation with videos – Performing Arts Aerosol Study Preliminary Results 2 (August 2020). Please note that the context of their research was to release a preliminary report to help schools and universities plan for the resumption of classes for the Fall semester after a summer break.

Here are five takeaways from the University of Boulder preliminary report.

There are a number of implications for us to explore. They include examining the ventillation system at the school where we have been rehearsing, considering the school cleaning and hygiene policies as applied to community hirers and sharing of their equipment and music instruments and planning how we enter and leave the building.

The Grainger Wind Symphony will look carefully at all the risks it can manage in order to enable the wind symphony to resume large group rehearsal and performance as soon the government and health authorities releaase guidelines for resuming.

Roland Yeung

Other links

Australian Government Office for the Arts

Performing in a Pandemic: Safety Guidance from Dr. Stuart Weiss NY USA June 23, 2020

Aerosol Filtration Efficiency of Common Fabrics Used in Respiratory Cloth Masks by Abhiteja Konda, Abhinav Prakash, Gregory A. Moss, Michael Schmold, Gregory D. Grant, and Supratik Guhaa. April 2020

The Science Behind Orchestras’ Careful Covid Comeback by Gregory Barber WIRED Magazine 8 June 2020
How readily can playing instruments transmit the virus? As researchers investigate, musical ensembles prepare for the show to go on.

Army Band COVID-19 Risk Mitigation for Large Groups

Research Brief: New study explores how coronavirus travels indoors University of Minnesota July 28, 2020

Characterization of Aerosols from Musical Performance & Risk Mitigation Related to COVID 19 Pandemic University of Cincinatti July 30 2020

Someone is designing bespoke masks for brass and woodwind players to stay safe amid coronavirus on ClassicFM webpage 2 July 2020

The department has posted on social media that playing instruments like saxophones, clarinets, flutes and recorders can spread COVID-19 if someone is infected. Limelight by Angus McPherson on August 10, 2020. Special mention is made of community wind ensembles in paragraph 7.

‘A bridge too far’: Concern about bans to music programs in NSW schools, The Herald Sun 19 August 2020. “On Monday, schools across NSW were told that singing and playing wind instruments in groups should cease for the rest of term three, meaning that choir and full orchestra practice could not continue.”