On Tuesday May 5th NATS and its partners ACDA, Chorus America, Barbershop Harmony Society, and Performing Arts Medicine Association presented a webinar with far reaching implications on our field. Within the webinar titled A Conversation: What Do Science and Data Say About the Near Term Future of Singing the expert panelists presented a balanced view of data “as we know it now” which some were prepared to hear and others not. These organizations are committed to providing accurate and timely data as we move through the COVID-19 crisis. Dr. Lucinda Halstead and Dr. Donald Milton each presented important information about both the aerosolization of viruses and the medical data as it might impact singers specifically. Both stated clearly that there is unfortunately little singer specific research available related to the spread of viruses and aerosolization, however certain things might be inferred. They presented various scenarios for potential spread.
Online reaction ranged from kudos for sharing the complicated science and joining together as organizations to present a unified message about where we stand at this point in time as an industry, to comments that this will be the end of singing as we know it and everything in between. The webinar ignited significant conversation and has led to over 85,000 views of the webinar video to date, far surpassing anything any of the individual organizations have produced of this type previously.
Attendees also heard additional research about the opinions our audiences have as to when they are likely to feel comfortable returning to the concert hall. Other speakers urged attendees to assess plans and prepare for the near term future.
The complete video of the event is posted on the OfficiaNATS YouTube channel. The Barbershop Harmony Society graciously edited the raw video from the webinar into seven digestible sections and those videos are available on the OfficialNATS channel as well as at www.barbershop.org. We have fielded several media requests for interviews associated with this webinar and continue to converse with a wide array of researchers and individuals associated with research that is key to finding solutions that create a way forward for a return to face to face lessons and rehearsals. Stay tuned for an announcement soon about a jointly sponsored follow up conversation.