Reopening Cultural Life in the UK - a plea for help

News Archive : Reopening Cultural Life in the UK - a plea for help

Although we sincerely hope that you enjoy the performances from The Virtual Sinfonia Chorale, we feel that we must look to the future and plan for the return to our more conventional way of performing.

We therefore wish to bring to your attention (if you haven't already been made aware of this) the campaign that has steadily been gathering momentum throughout the country, and request that all supporters of Choral Singing take action as detailed below in the hope of a successful conclusion for all of us....

It has been suggested by many prominent musicians that we need to let the Government know that choirs in the UK need some advice and some answers. The Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, has set up a task force to help re-open cultural life - but this task force does not include a single musician amongst its members! We need representation. We need to let the Culture Secretary know that choirs and choral singing are a vital part of life in the UK. Richard Morrison, in a recent Times article, pointed out that there are 70,000 choirs in the UK, nearly all of which are in suspended animation. Yet no one in Government is providing advice on where we can go next, despite there being a taskforce looking at how to reopen cultural life. We need to ask the Government to commission some authoritative scientific advice, and it is suggested that we each individually email the Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, at this email address:-

A possible form of wording for an email is given here:

Dear Secretary of State,

I draw your attention to an article in The Times of 8th June by Richard Morrison, headlined "Will no one in Government stand up for British choirs?"
Here he points out that there are 70,000 choirs in the UK, nearly all of which are in suspended animation.
There are therefore well over a million people who would love to resume singing, an activity with well-known associated physical and mental health benefits, but who of course wish to restart only when it is safe to do so.
What all choirs need is authoritative, independent, scientifically based advice on, inter alia:

  1. What national and local conditions must be met to ensure safety?

  2. What configuration(s) should choirs adopt in rehearsals, and also in performance?

  3. Is there any type of PPE that is effective and practical for choral singers?

  4. Any guidance on social distancing and other measures which may need to be put in place in venues that choirs and orchestras put on public performances, to ensure that audience members feel safe to attend?

Please will your Department commission this research, to be completed and published by the end of July 2020?

Yours sincerely,

(your signature, and choir or organisation you belong to)

It is suggested that you copy the email to

  • your MP
  • Radio 4 Front Row :
  • BBC Newsnight :


The Sinfonia Chorale

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