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27th Jul, 2021

Chorus of disapproval as Solihull choirs slam lockdown restrictions

SOLIHULL choir leader Anya Small has slammed the Government over its refusal to let more than six people sing together in a room.

Anya is the founder and choir director of the Solihull based community choir Pop Voices with 350 adult members across Solihull and Warwickshire.

She, along with choir directors up and down the country are furious at lockdown rules that state no more than six people can sing together in a room and 30 outdoors.

“It makes absolutely no sense,” she said.

“We are being treated differently from excercise classes and gyms,” she said.

She’s not alone either – ABCD – the Association of British Choral Directors – is equally non-plussed and is seeking clarification on why singing has been singled out.

“We want the Government to treat us the same as all other indoor activities,” said Anya.

“We want the same access to our activity as gyms and exercise classes and failing that we want the science and information on why having more than six people in a room singing is so dangerous.”

She added: “We had been preparing like 40,000 other choirs around the country to come back to indoor singing on May 17 in line with the Government’s roadmap.

“On May 18 the Government updated the performing arts guidelines almost 36 hours after the step change and completely shocked the choir community.

“After starting our very stringently risk assessed groups with two metre social distancing, masks and good ventilation we were told we could not have more than six people in a room singing.”

She added that singing was a well recognised tonic for mental health and community wellbeing.

Professional singers are now also allowed to sing in larger groups, albeit with social distancing observed.

“Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the decision to restrict choirs was made on the basis of ‘very clear public health guidance’ but we have seen no evidence of this,” said Anya, adding that in Wales, up to 30 people were allowed to sing in a room together.

For more on Pop Voices, visit: www.pop-voices.co.uk

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