During this challenging time, we are seeing the creativity, ingenuity, and leadership of choral professionals as they create and share resources to help themselves and others respond proactively! This page is an attempt to collect many of these ideas and suggestions together. Do you know of other resources that are particularly relevant for choral professionals? Please email Sundra Flansburg () with your suggestions.
1. Aerosol Generation from Playing Band Instruments, Singing, and Performing, and Risk of Infectious Disease Transmission (Univ. of Colorado & Univ. of Maryland)
Purpose: The study will examine aerosol rates produced by wind instrumentalists, vocalists, and even actors, and how quickly those aerosol rates accumulate in a space. Final results are expected in January 2021.
Lead Researcher: Dr. L. Shelly Miller, University of Colorado.
The first release of preliminary results was focused on woodwinds and brass (Jul. 13, 2020)
This latest release includes a one-page summary, aerosol production and mitigation effects, efficacy of masks, CFD modeling of small ensemble singers, and more.
Conversation video with lead researchers & chairs – especially recommended
Video on viral transmission by Dr. Miller & Dr. Vance
ACDA notes that in general, previous recommendations are reinforced with the most recent results. Especially notable:
- Singers produce aerosol at similar rates as woodwinds and brass. The amount of aerosol dispersed by singers varies depending on consonants, vowels, intensity and pitch. In addition, singers wearing a well-fitted, three-layer, surgical-style mask have a reduced release of aerosol.
- The researchers also addressed face shields and plexiglass partitions in the latest data. Among the findings were that face shields are only effective at close range to stop large droplets and do not prevent aerosol from being inhaled or released unless a mask is also worn. In addition, plexiglass partitions or barriers between musicians are not recommended due to HVAC system design limitations in rooms. The experts indicated a concern for aerosol build-up when plexiglass barriers are used.
Explanatory Webinar: Second Release of Preliminary Results of Performing Arts Aerosol Research Study – organized by ACDA, NATS, Chorus America, Barbershop Harmony Society, and PAMA (Aug. 10, 2020)
ACDA, NATS, PAMA, Chorus America, and the Barbershop Harmony Society presented a joint Q&A-style webinar with study researcher Dr. Jelena Srebric (reviewing the preliminary findings for singers), otolaryngologist Dr. Lucinda Halstead (with a review of mask options), and soprano Olivia Lerwick (describing her participation in the research study) on Monday, August 10.
Recording of the webinar
Personal Risk Tolerance Assessment
What does the data say in my locale?
GA Tech Event Risk Assessment Tool
What about my studio/building?
The University of Colorado Boulder risk assessment tool
Harvard-UC Boulder Portable Air Cleaner Calculator for Schools.v1.1
Explanatory Webinar: Second Release of Preliminary Results of Performing Arts Aerosol Research Study – organized by the researchers (Aug. 6, 2020)
Moderator: James Weaver. This webinar was organized by the researchers of the aerosol study, and featured the co-chairs, Dr. James Weaver, NFHS Director of Performing Arts and Sports, and Dr. Mark Spede, CBDNA President, Director of Bands, Clemson University, as well as lead researchers and others.
Recording of webinar
Response from ACDA, BHS, Chorus America, and NATS on the preliminary results
Aerosol Study FAQs
2. Reducing Bioaerosol Emissions and Exposures in the Performing Arts: A Scientific Roadmap for a Safe Return from COVID-19 (Colorado State University)
Objective: To reduce the risk of human exposure and co-infection to SARS-COV-2 aerosol during performing arts activities.
Team: Researchers with the Powerhouse Energy Campus at Colorado State University.
Explanatory Webinar: Preliminary Results – Mask Design 101: A Bootcamp for Masks During COVID-19 (Sep. 17, 2020)
Organized by Colorado State University, NATS, and the Energy Institute at CSU. Recording of webinar.
Reducing Bioaerosol Emissions and Exposures in the Performing Arts: Preliminary Results (Aug. 17, 2020)
This release included information about the effectiveness of a variety of masks.
- Masks reduce vocal emissions by 90% or more.
- However, every singer’s mask tested to that date performed poorly, according to the study’s standards.
- Variability from one person to the next is important.
Guest Artist Directory
ACDA member Dr. Rebecca Lord has developed a living database of artists willing to make online guest appearances for choirs and music classes. An amazing list of diverse professionals offering to appear for choir classes, events, community and church choirs – about any choral situation. Visit the directory.
Would you like to be added to the directory? Please fill out this form.
Featured Planning Tools
COVID-19 Response Committee Report (Jun. 15, 2020, by the ACDA COVID-19 Response Committee)
On Jun. 15, ACDA released guidance and a statement of support for choral singing and study during the COVID-19 pandemic. Included are protocols for MS/JH upper elementary schools, senior high schools, collegiate choirs, community: youth and adult choirs, and music in worship. An important appendix contains guidance and ideas for establishing instructional models. The report was developed by a team of choral professionals from across the country, and with expertise and experience in choral education and conducting in a variety of choral settings including K-12 schools, colleges and universities, community choirs, and places of worship.
Recording of webinar that summarized and discussed the report’s contents
List of Response Committee members
Choral Music in the Time of COVID-19 (Jul. 3, 2020, by the Western ACDA Task Force for Innovation)
Western ACDA’s 90-person task force has produced folders of resources, as well as video discussion and how-to’s. They suggest reading the Introduction, reviewing the folder in your specific area, reviewing other folders of interest, then finish with the Technology Resources (including side-by-side comparisons of platforms and software. This collection of resources is being continually expanded and updated.
Top 2020 Choral Solutions During the Pandemic: A Fast Track to Success (Aug. 19, 2020), by Rebecca Lord
The recommendations in this ChoralNet post are collected from conductors who have blazed the trails with their choirs through the early days of the pandemic.
This issue was a special one on choral music in the time of Coronavirus. It contains more than 40 pages of lesson plans and projects that you can use with your choirs.
NH Music Education: Return to School 2020 (Jul. 31, 2020), by NH American Choral Directors Association, NH American Strings Teachers Association, NH Band Directors Association, and NH Music Educators Association.
This document was developed to be a resource to New Hampshire music educators as they planned for continuing high-quality instruction in music education while prioritizing student and staff safety during the 2020-21 school year.
Planning for Your Choir in Uncertain Times – A Framework (by Canada’s Provincial Choral Organizations and Choral Canada members)
A one-page, step-by-step guide to planning for your choir when everything seems uncertain.
COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool (by Georgie Tech College of Sciences)
An interactive dashboard that estimates COVID-19 incidence at gatherings in the U.S. has added a new feature: the ability to calculate county-level risk of attending an event with someone actively infected with Coronavirus (COVID-19).
COVID-19 Risk Assessment Generator for Musicians & Performers (by Bands for Hire, U.K.)
As live music and performance opens up across the world, many countries, including the UK, will continue to publish strict health & safety measures to ensure the safety of the musicians, performers and audience. If you’ve been contracted to work at an event, you may be asked by the venue or body that’s contracted you to provide a Covid-19 specific risk assessment. This risk assessment will need to show that you’ve carefully considered all possible risks relating to Coronavirus and that you’re taking all necessary steps to minimize or eradicate that risk. To save you time we’ve put together this handy Covid-19 Risk Assessment generator to start you off in the right direction.
We are grateful to our ACDA composers who have gifted the following pieces for our members’ use during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- ***There Will Be Songs (Kirstina Rasmussen Collins) for a cappella SATB chorus
- Strange Is the Night (Nicholas Kelly) for a cappella SATB chorus
- In Paradisum (Z. Randall Stroope) for a cappella SATB chorus
- To Sing Again (Robert Russell) for a cappella SATB chorus
- And the Sun Is Orange (Karin Michael) for a cappella SATB chorus
- Bring Us Peace (Michele Hecht) for a cappella SATB chorus
- Uncertain Times (Mitchell T. Davey) for a cappella SATB chorus
- Part of the Gift (David Lauria) for a cappella SATB chorus
- Ave Rosa Sine Spinis (Michael John Trotta) for a cappella SATB chorus
- Life Has Its Meanings (HG Moses) for SATB chorus and piano
- Songs from Silence (Elaine Hagenberg) for a cappella SATB, SSAA, or TTBB chorus
- La Rosa Eterna (Kevin Barba) for a cappella SATB chorus
- Falling Leaves (Juhi Bansal) for a cappella SATB chorus
- Lux Aeterna (John Newell) for a cappella SATB chorus
- Oure Light in Oure Night (Adrienne Inglis) for voices and nature soundtrack
- Three new works by David Avshalomov for a cappella SATB chorus
- Rest (Robert Cohen) for a cappella SATB chorus
- fermata (Dan Forrest). Two canons in 5 for SATB or SSAA choir, expressing sorrow yet hope for singers waiting to sing again.
ACDA member composers: Do you have a piece of choral music you composed that you would like to share with choral conductors and singers as a gift during these difficult times? Please email a PDF score along with a shareable web link for the piece to . Scores will be vetted for quality and professionalism, then shared here.
Other Complimentary Music Offers
Many Hills Songbook. For their 20th anniversary, the Manhattan Choral Ensemble invited contemporary composers connected to New York City to contribute to a choral songbook – which you can download for free. The composers allowed the ensemble to share their work with you through a Creative Commons license for free non-commercial use.
Oxford University Press is offering some free online versions of songs and vocal activities in the form of extracts from two series, Oxford Solo Songs: Sacred (Volume 1 and Volume 2) and Voiceworks (Junior Voiceworks: 33 Songs for Children, Voicelinks: Songs and Activities across the Curriculum, and Folk Voiceworks: 30 Traditional Songs). They also have a Spotify playlist.
Choral Canada Update (Sep. 9, 2020 – masterclass presentation)
Choral Canada Executive Director Meghan Hila surveys the choral landscape in Canada, specifically about the results of a survey from 2017 that showed the broad extent to which Canadians participate in choirs, and also the cross-country responses to COVID-19 and singing. This informational presentation about our neighbors to the north will be of interest to the Canadian members of ACDA living in the U.S., as well as to all choral musicians living through this challenging time. The presentation is part of Carleton University’s fall masterclass series, which is freely available to everyone. (Note: the results of their choral census are discussed at 31:41 min., and their COVID response is discussed at 46:10 min.)
Copyright Guidance for Singing in a Virtual World (June 9, 2020 – webinar)
ACDA, NATS, PAMA, Chorus America, and the Barbershop Harmony Society co-hosted. Moderator: Janice Bane, copyright & licensing manager at Barbershop Harmony Society. Watch the recording.
Singing: What We CAN Do (May 26, 2020 – webinar)
ACDA, NATS, PAMA, Chorus America, and the Barbershop Harmony Society co-hosted. Moderator: Brian Newhouse, Minnesota Public Radio. Watch the recording.
What Do Science and Data Say About the Near-Term Future of Singing? (May 5, 2020 – webinar)
ACDA, NATS, PAMA, Chorus America, and the Barbershop Harmony Society co-hosted. ACDA did not make a statement coming out of this webinar. The goal of this webinar was to listen to leading scientists on the facts of the virus, allowing us to formulate potential next steps amidst much uncertainty.
Resources & Handouts from the webinar
Unedited recording of the webinar
Mental Health and Inspiration
Posts and Other Short Writings
***Students Show Flexibility and Diligence (by Jason McKee)
Silver Linings (by Michael J. Goede)
The Empathy of Friends (Tim Sharp, interviewed by NATS)
The Arts Are Essential to Public Infrastructure (by Michael McGaghie)
“We will come out of this period even stronger than we were before”: Interview with Tim Sharp (by Interkultur)
Thoughts on Leadership (produced by KI Concerts) includes powerful perspectives from choral leaders Tim Sharp, Heather J. Buchanan, Eric Stark, and Pearl Shangkuan. In this four-minute video, they share pearls of wisdom on leadership during trying times.
Living in the Wilderness (By Bruce Becker)
The Pandemic Shut Down Choirs. We’re Finding New Ways to Sing Together (by Tim Sharp, The Washington Post)
Let’s Find Solutions (By Amanda Quist)
What Are We Going to Do About This? (by Gary Packwood)
How to Salvage a Disastrous Day in Your Covid-19 House Arrest (by Aisha S. Ahmad, The Chronicle of Higher Education)
Cantate: Choral Music in the Time of Coronavirus (published by California Choral Directors Association)
My Journey with COVID-19 (by Tim Sharp)
Grief and Gratitude Coexist (by Joy Fritz Paffenroth)
Working Together While Living Apart (by Alice Parker)
My Rubric for Innovation (by Tim Sharp)
A Note to My Church Choir (by Randall Bradley)
How Do We Sing the Lord’s Song in a Strange Land? (by Tim Sharp)
On Loss, Community, and Taking a Breath (by Jennie Weyman, in California Choral Directors Association’s Cantate)
Crowdsourcing: CCDA Board Members and Friends Share Inspiration for Surviving the Crisis (compiled by Polly Vasche, in California Choral Directors Assocation’s Cantate)
It’s Okay to Suck at Being an Online Choir Teacher (by Chris Munce)
Professional Development & Learning Opportunities
Podcasts, Websites & Online Classes
Skylark is in the process of releasing 6 very rich online modules with educational tools. The modules include a performance edition, practice audio tools, video coachings, and much more, for pieces of varying difficulty in a variety of styles and languages. All the modules are being released at www.skylarkensemble.org/education. These are all a free gift to the choral community.
During COVID-19, Protecting Our Voices in a Virtual World, an episode from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association’s podcast ASHA Voices. This episode discusses how videoconferences are leading to voice strain!
Transform Your Choir’s Sound: Exceptional Choral Singing with Bel Canto Principles (by Laurier Fagnan) is available free right now, and is a learning program based on bel canto pedagogy applied to choral singing, with innovative 3D acoustical analyses highlighting “before” and “after” bel canto difference.
SFGMC TV (San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus) has launched a free online platform showcasing performances, dynamic interviews, singer spotlights, and more. The site offers content previously scheduled at the National LGBTQ Center for the Arts in digital format.
Koor Online Courses. As a support for choirs, until normal activities resume, Koor is offering a series of free workshops to provide some light and inspiration during these difficult times. Each course is led by musicians who make up the professional performing element of Koor.
Copyrights and Permissions
Copyright Guidance for Distance Learning (by NFHS & NAfME)
TEACH Act summary and FAQs on copyrights in distance learning.
GIA Publications, Inc., Statement on Permissions During the Pandemic
Hal Leonard Statement on Permissions During the Pandemic
J. W. Pepper Statement on Sharing Sheet Music Digital
Lorenz Corporation Statement on Permissions and Licensing
Please contact other publishers directly for their policies during the crisis.
Online and Distance Learning
The SPiN Network is the first fully licensed video site created specifically for school-related music performances. Schools and associations can film and upload videos of their music performances – subscribers can view and enjoy the performances. SPiN is offering free student accounts that allow them to watch content and lessons from their teachers. Educators and directors can set up a free channel and send the link to their students. Directions for doing this are here. More information here.
Harmony Helper is an app that works to help singers improve their accuracy and build their confidence by providing real-time visual feedback on pitch and rhythm. The app download is free, and comes with access to free songs including five choral songs. There is a subscription charge if you wish to upload your music.
Recommendations and Advice
Zoom Audio Settings for Teaching Music (by Carol Jacobe)
Beauty from Ashes: Celebrating Choral Victories (by Rebecca Lord)
Cyber Solutions for Quarantined Choirs: A Guide to Virtual Rehearsals & Performances (by Rebecca Lord)
Virtual Choir Rehearsals (by GALA Choruses)
High School Choir Online Learning Options: Growing as Musicians (by Doreen Fryling)
10 Ideas to Stay Connected to Your Choirs (by Arizona ACDA)
Coronavirus and Community Choruses: What Can You Do to Prepare (by Tori Cook, Choral Connection)
Setting Up a Realtime Physically Distant Rehearsal (by David Newman)
SoundJack: The Unofficial Guide to Low Latency Online Music Making (by Ian Howell)
Distance Learning Resources (compiled by Washington ACDA)
A resource as choral educators are facing the challenge of distance-learning in the choral classroom.
Guide to Remote Music Education (compiled by Christopher Bill)
A quick go-to list of software/apps you can use to stay connected with your students remotely and encourage progress without the luxury of in-person teaching.
Continuing to Rehearse During the COVID-19 Situation with Tech Tools (by Kathryn E. Schneider, New York City Bar Chorus)
AnywhereSeat. ACDA has partnered with AnywhereSeat.com, a new way to raise money by selling digital tickets to your virtual concerts (videos, live streams, and Zoom events). If you plan on doing a virtual concert, consider using AnywhereSeat’s “Name your own price” feature to allow your patrons to watch by donating. Setup takes less than 10 minutes and AnywhereSeat’s top notch support is there to help along the way. As a bonus, every time you sell a ticket, ACDA gets a small percentage, so it’s a great way to support our organization!
FeelitLIVE.com. A ticketed, live streaming platform that allows choirs and other musicians to create online live streaming experiences for both pre-recorded and live music content, allowing for audience outreach and engagement while earning through ticket sales. All the creator has to do is enter the event and ticket details, and FeelitLIVE does the rest. Click here to create your experience or event or contact or (646) 221-8406 with any questions.
Reflections & Guidance
Inclusive Event Planning After COVID-19 (by Function Central). A British take on the future of events.
Reflection on the Texas Choral Directors Association 2020 Virtual Conference (by Thomas Rinn, president, TCDA)
How Is COVID-19 Affecting Choral Events (managed by Chorus America). This is a crowdsourced resource for choruses in the U.S. and Canada to share information about how their events (concerts, rehearsals, tours, fundraisers, etc.) are being impacted by COVID-19, and the plans they are putting into place as a result.
What to Do When Your Choral Concert Gets Canceled (by Tori Cook, Choral Connection)
Transforming Your Chorus’s Live Fundraising Event into a Virtual Event (by Tori Cook, Choral Connection)
Virtual Fundraising Ideas for Choruses: Host a Non-Event (by Tori Cook, Choral Connection)
Virtual Choir Guidance
Virtual Choirs: Student Thoughts on Taking Performance Online (by Bobby Olson and Scott N. Edgar for NAfME)
Tech Tips for Virtual Ensembles (by Stanton’s Sheet Music)
Here I Am (composed by Karen Siegel) is a “gift to the choral community, and is dedicated to all who are quarantined or isolated during this pandemic.” Siegel says that it was composed to embrace the latency of online singing. The page also contains suggestions for creating remote choirs, including live streaming.
Local Homegrown Virtual Choir Launches Today (by Bronwyn Edwards)
Fauntleroy Virtual Choir Webpage (by Bronwyn Edwards)
A webpage for the choir, which contains scores and recordings for people to sing along in their virtual choir.
Executive Summary: Virtual Choirs (by David Carroll)
Music in Worship Ideas
Webinar Recording: Interim Guidance: Navigating Music and Worship Safely (by Hawai’i ACDA).
ChoralNet – Choral Potpourri/Choral Ethics: Choral Music Will Survive Only If We All Help (by Marie Grass Amenta)
JewishChoralMusic.com is a resource center (repertoire, articles, educational pieces, videos, podcasts, and more) for anyone interested in choral music from a wide variety of Jewish traditions and experiences. They have just added a new “Podcasts in a Time of Corona.”
ACDA Member Emails
View the member emails with highlights & tips!
Jan. 20: Just 7 more days to get the best conference price
Jan. 13: Have you found a silver lining during this time?
Jan. 6: Here’s a video message from Andre Thomas about the conference
Dec. 23: Happy Holidays from ACDA
Dec. 16: Connect & replenish yourself at the national conference
Dec. 9: Pay it forward by making a gift to ACDA’s Fund for Tomorrow
Dec. 2: Conference previews, Robert Shaw Award and Julius Herford Prize winners
Nov. 25: We’re thankful for you & appreciate everything you’re doing this year!
Nov. 18: More preliminary results from the Performing Arts Aerosol Study released
Nov. 11: Register now for the 2021 virtual national conference!
Nov. 4: Conference registration is now open
Oct. 29: Registration for the 2021 ACDA virtual conference opens Nov. 4
Oct. 21: 9 ACDA members make semifinalist for Music Educator Grammy!
Oct. 14: Have you completed the diversity & inclusion survey yet?
Oct. 7: Sign up to be an ACDA Choral Advocate
Oct. 1: A Choral Journal: “Sounds of Blackness: A Focus Issue on Racial Harmony”
Sep. 23: Here are some words from Tim Sharp
Sep. 16: Colorado State University & NATS webinar tomorrow on mask design
Sep. 2: An interim executive director is named
Aug. 26: ACDA’s Executive Committee statement on Tim Sharp’s retirement
Aug. 19: ACDA’s 2021 national conference goes virtual!
Aug. 12: Research results & our response to preliminary findings
Jul. 29: Join us in saluting our choral educators!
Jul. 22: There are 6 state virtual events starting over the next week!
Jul. 15: Refresh with an honor choir performance of “Be the Change”
Jul. 8: Consider participating in one of this summer’s state virtual conferences!
Jun. 24: Did you know some states’ virtual offerings are open to you?
Jun. 17: Join a Monday webinar on the COVID-19 Response Committee report
Jun. 10: An ACDA COVID-response document coming next week with support & guidance
May 27: Our second webinar was energizing and showcased creativity
May 20: Webinar 2 will focus on what we CAN do!
May 13: The time for advocacy is now!
May 6: The shifting focus to what we CAN do
Apr. 29: Music created in the moment is what connects us!
Apr. 22: We’re in this together!
Apr. 15: Here’s your Wednesday shot of inspiration
April 8: Thank you for continuing the musical experiences that are so nourishing!
April 1: We’re inspired by you – no joke!
March 25: How are you coping and altering your choral work life?
March 18: Here are some tools and inspiration to keep you moving ahead!
March 13: Here are online resources & ideas to access now
**Newly added resource. This page last updated Feb. 9, 2021.