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ANCA NSW/ACT Roundtable of Instrumental, Vocal and Music Education Organisations

Thu Oct 1 2020

23 November 2020

NSW Health Advice updated details

Dear members,

Following the Premier's media release last week, NSW Health has updated the relevant advice to include details of the new provision for up to 30 singers outdoors. We have copied the relevant details for choirs below and you can read the NSW Health FAQ here: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/frequently-asked-questions.aspx#3-4

Can I sing in a group?
Singing is an activity where people may expel a lot of air and possibly fine droplets of saliva. In this way, singing may be comparable to coughing. When people do these things in groups (for example in a band, choir or karaoke), the likelihood of the virus being present and spread is increased.

In accordance with advice from the Chief Health Officer, NSW Health recommends:

Indoor settings

A small group of up to 5 people may sing together in a large well-ventilated area if:

  • all singers face forwards and not towards each other 
  • have physical distancing of 1.5 metres between each other and any other performers, and 5 metres from all other people including the audience and conductor.

The audience or congregation should not participate in singing in this setting due to the increased risk of transmission and NSW Health strongly recommends anyone 12 years or older wear a face mask.

Ensembles and other musical groups should rehearse and perform outdoors or in large, well-ventilated indoor spaces.

Outdoor settings

A group of up to 30 people may perform together in a singing group outdoors if:

  • all singers face forwards and not towards each other 
  • have physical distancing of 1.5 metres between each other and any other performers, and 5 metres from all other people including the audience and conductor.

If the event is one where the audience or congregation are likely to participate in the singing, such as carols by candlelight or religious services, audience members and congregants 12 years or older should wear a face mask.

Note: audiences that are singing are not counted in the 30-person limit on those who are performing in a singing group.



Kind regards,

ANCA NSW & ACT Committee

  

 

 

 

 

20 November 2020

Increased capacity for outdoors singing and carols from 23 November in NSW

Dear Members,

ANCA has been working with RIVMEO to advocate for an easing of restrictions for singing groups in NSW and we are delighted to be able to share today's announcement from the Premier with changes to take effect from Monday 23 November.

You can read the media release here: https://www.nsw.gov.au/media-releases/plans-for-new-years-eve-and-festive-season 

We have reproduced the most relevant section below:

In addition, from Monday, 23 November the following restrictions will be eased: 

Increased capacity for outdoor religious services:

  • Up to 500 people outdoors, provided the audience is seated (with 1 person per 2 square metres if assigned a seat, or 1 person per 4 square metres if seated in an allocated seated area (e.g. where the grass is marked or on picnic rugs)

Increased capacity for outdoors singing and carols: 

  • Up to 30 singers will be permitted outdoors, subject to COVID-safe requirements (the limit of 5 remains for indoor venues). The audience or congregation may participate in the singing, but anyone 12 years or older must wear a mask. 

Increased capacity for controlled outdoor events (such as concerts) that are ticketed and held in an enclosed or fenced area:

  • Up to 3000 people can attend with 1 person per 2 square metres if assigned a seat, or 1 person per 4 square metres if seated in an allocated seated area (e.g. where the grass is marked or on picnic rugs). 

We continue to advocate on behalf of ANCA members for a risk-managed approach that is equitable and proportionate. We encourage you to write to your local MP (find yours here https://roll.elections.nsw.gov.au/areafinder/) with details of the personal impact you have experienced to help ensure the issue is not forgotten.

Kind regards,

ANCA NSW & ACT Committee

 

NSW Health Update Clarification - Advice taking effect from 26 September 2020

Dear members,

Following last Thursday's updated health advice from Dr Kerry Chant, members of RIVMEO met with NSW Health, Create NSW and NSW Department of Education to clarify the details of the guidelines. NSW Health has now updated the FAQ for group singing, which applies across all settings (click here to view full details) from 26th September. The details are as follows:

Can I sing in a group?
Singing is an activity where people may expel a lot of air and possibly fine droplets of saliva. In this way, singing may be comparable to coughing. When people do these things in groups (for example in a band, choir or karaoke), the likelihood of the virus being present and spread is increased.

In accordance with advice from the Chief Health Officer, NSW Health recommends:

  • A small group of up to 5 people may sing together in a large well ventilated (preferably outdoor) area if all singers face forwards and not towards each other, have a physical distancing of 1.5 meters between each other and any other performers and 5 meters from all other people including the audience and conductor.
  • Ensembles and other musical groups should rehearse and perform outdoors or in large, well-ventilated indoor spaces.


RIVMEO continues to advocate for group singing and is seeking further clarification on the guidelines affecting choral rehearsals and performances.

Best wishes,

ANCA NSW & ACT Chapter Committee

 

24 September, 2020

MINIMISING RISK OF COVID-19 TRANSMISSION: UPDATED ADVICE FOR NSW SCHOOL COMMUNITIES AND COMMUNITY SPORTS ORGANISATIONS

This morning Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant released the following new health advice (click here for statement as issued by NSW Health) relating to group singing:

Group singing and musical groups

Group singing and chanting remains a high-risk activity for transmission should someone involved be infected. In order to mitigate this risk, a small group of up to 5 people may sing together in one area if all singers face forwards and not towards each other, have physical distancing of 1.5 metres between each other and any other performers, and 5 metres distancing from all other people in front including the audience and conductor. Group singing of up to 5 people should only take place in a large, well-ventilated (preferably outdoor) setting.

In primary school and preschool settings, in-class educational activities such as group repetition, chanting, recitation or singing may occur, provided this takes place outdoors or in a well-ventilated indoor environment. Teachers must maintain 1.5m physical distancing for these in-class educational activities. This activity is permitted due to the importance of these activities in children’s education and development, and the lower transmission risk between primary students.

Musical instrument ensembles may continue. Players of non-reeded woodwind instruments (such as flutes and recorders) should maintain a physical distance of 3 metres from others in the direction of air flow from their instruments, and 1.5m in all other directions. Players of all other musical instruments (including reeded woodwind instruments) should maintain a physical distance of 1.5m between each other and the audience / conductor. Ensembles and other musical groups should rehearse and perform outdoors or in large, well-ventilated indoor spaces.

ANCA is continuing to work through RIVMEO in an ongoing working group with NSW Health and continues to advocate on behalf of our member choirs and choir directors in this space.

Best wishes,

ANCA NSW & ACT Chapter Committee 

 

23 September, 2020

RIVMEO PROGRESS REPORT

Dear members,
Yesterday I was pleased to represent ANCA NSW members in the RIVMEO working group with NSW Health and am delighted to share some good news. Please see the update below from RIVMEO facilitator, Stephen O'Doherty.

Best wishes,
Dr Naomi Cooper
President ANCA NSW & ACT Chapter

Progress Report from our Working Group with NSW Health

RIVMEO is pleased to report that real progress has been made towards easing the current restrictions on vocal and instrumental music in NSW.
This comes after a very productive meeting of the RIVMEO Working Group with NSW Health to discuss the current advice for the music and education sectors.
The Working Group was established following RIVMEO’s meeting with the NSW Minister for Heath Brad Hazzard and Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant last week.
The good news is that with rates of community transmission heading in the right direction, and a more nuanced understanding of existing evidence and uncertainties relating to vocal and instrumental music, there is hope for the easing of restrictions on musical activities in the near future.
RIVMEO, the Roundtable of Instrumental, Vocal and Music Education Organisations, is a voice for the NSW music community. Its membership of professional associations, organisations and significant performing arts bodies is the most substantial representation of the music sector assembled in NSW.
RIVMEO’s current focus is to work in collaboration with NSW Government agencies to find a way for organised vocal and instrumental music activities to safely resume while playing their role in the whole of community effort to reduce and eliminate the spread of COVID-19 in NSW.
The RIVMEO Working Group and NSW Health exchanged helpful and relevant information about the existing science regarding the potential for COVID-19 to be spread by aerosols during singing and wind playing.
The many factors involved in the framing of the current health advice were discussed, with NSW Health outlining specific instances where musical activity has been a factor in the spread of COVID- 19 in NSW. These instances have been mentioned in Health epidemiology reports, and it is understood Health will be publishing peer-reviewed research in due course to help inform the global pandemic response.
Acknowledging that the most effective strategy is to reduce and hopefully eliminate community transmission, the RIVMEO Working Group advocated that vocal and instrumental music are important to both education and community flourishing and that any restrictions should be proportionate, equitable, evidence-based and sustainable.
Regarding the current Health advice RIVMEO raised specific concerns relating to classroom singing and chanting, school vocal and instrumental groups, the mixed year groups issue, the use of peripatetic/contractor tutors in schools, indoor versus outdoor activities and refining the interpretation of public orders, especially regarding head-count limits on rehearsals and performances in public spaces.
The discussion encompassed the particular needs of professional and community settings, vocal and instrumental ensembles, classroom and peripatetic teacher/tutors and regional and metropolitan locations.
Uncertainties in the current advice were addressed, and RIVMEO members were able to provide specific and contextualised feedback based on the practical experience of the music communities it represents.
RIVMEO is pleased that through the Working Group process it has the opportunity for continuing dialogue with both Health and Education in NSW, with the common purpose of finding ways to return to playing, singing and learning music together while contributing to the greater community effort of reducing and eliminating the spread of COVID-19 in NSW.


Stephen O’Doherty RIVMEO Facilitator
23/09/2020

 

11 September, 2020

TAKE OUR SURVEY AND HELP GET US PLAYING, SINGING AND LEARNING MUSIC AGAIN

 RIVMEO is undertaking the biggest data collection yet on the impact of COVID on the music sector.

ANCA is a proud member of RIVMEO, the Roundtable of Instrumental, Vocal and Music Education Music Organisations. We helped form RIVMEO to lift the sector’s voice to government, school authorities and others. 

We want to get NSW singing, playing and learning music together again, and we need your help.

We’ve put together a comprehensive survey asking how you have been affected by the current restrictions. Has it affected your income? Has it affected your health and wellbeing?

RIVMEO is meeting with the NSW government soon to discuss ways we can return to music, and your participation in this survey will directly feed into our advocacy.

We need to hear for the widest range of ensemble musicians possible, whether instrumentalists, vocalists, music educators or students.

This is the first survey to gather data from players and conductors alike, professional and community musicians, students of all ages, across all regions.

We need to hear from conductors, directors, and tutors, whether self-employed or in a full-time position.

We need to hear from choir, band and orchestra members. Large ensembles and small. How has this period affected you?

While our particular focus is NSW, we also have made provision for people in all states to take part. Our survey design allows us to separate out data from different states and we will be happy to share the results with colleagues everywhere.

Your data will not be used in a way that can identify individuals. We are looking for trends and the bigger our dataset the better.

Taking this survey is a tangible step you can take towards easing the restrictions.

Take the survey and add your voice. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RIVMEO

 

7 September, 2020

RIVMEO Update

Recently we told you that ANCA NSW has helped in the formation of RIVMEO – a Roundtable representing the huge NSW music community. Today I'm delighted to share some good news about the progress RIVMEO is making.

The Roundtable includes organisations in the band, vocal and orchestral communities, music educators and their students, school and tertiary music education, major arts institutions and instrument repairers. It represents the biggest coalition of the music sector ever assembled in NSW and encompasses metropolitan and regional areas. 

The main aim of the Roundtable is to work collaboratively with each other and the government to find a way that we can all return to singing, playing and learning music together, safely.

There’s positive news. We have secured a meeting with the NSW Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard, and Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant. 

As well as representing the concerns of so many people about the effect of the current guidelines and restrictions on music, we will be exploring ways that we, as a music community, can play our part in the great public health challenge facing us all, while also returning to the musical activities that sustain the wellbeing of so many people of all ages in NSW. 

The Roundtable is very grateful to have this opportunity, especially given the unimaginable load carried by these public officials in this pandemic. 

The voice of our music community is being heard. We understand that the importance of music to community health and wellbeing is well understood and taken seriously in government circles. 
Some professional arts companies and venues have been able to gain accreditation for COVID plans, and the Roundtable is drawing on their expertise. 

Some community bands have also been able to resume within the guidelines. These are hopeful signs. 

However, the lack of uniform application across different regions and local government areas is among the many issues on RIVMEO’s agenda. 

The task in front of us is not to be underestimated, but we must believe there is a pathway to a better future.

Roundtable of Instrumental, Vocal and Music Education Organisations members and participants:
 
•    Association of NSW Regional Conservatoriums (ANSWRC)
•    Australian Band and Orchestra Directors Association (ABODA NSW) 
•    Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB NSW) 
•    Australian National Association of Teacher of Singing (ANATS NSW)
•    Australian National Choral Association (ANCA NSW)
•    Australian School Band and Orchestra Festival (ASBOF)
•    Australian Society for Music Education (ASME NSW)
•    Band Association of NSW (BANSW)
•    Gondwana Choirs
•    Kodály NSW 
•    Moorambilla Voices
•    Musica Viva Australia
•    National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians
•    Orff NSW 
•    Pipe Bands NSW
•    Sweet Adelines Australia
•    Sydney Conservatorium of Music
•    Sydney Symphony Orchestra
•    Sydney Youth Orchestras

Best wishes,

Dr Naomi Cooper
President ANCA NSW & ACT Chapter

 

1 September, 2020

Inaugurated this week, the Roundtable of Instrumental, Vocal and Music Education Organisations (RIVMEO) has its first objective to get NSW playing, singing and learning together, safely.

The Roundtable is an unprecedented and substantial collaboration, representing tens of thousands of performers, teachers, conductors, and students in all corners of the state. 

ANCA NSW has joined with the others to form the Roundtable, believing it will add strength and weight to the advocacy we and others are already doing on your behalf. 

As a member of RIVMEO, ANCA NSW is glad to be a significant contributor to this important work.
 
Recent decisions around the practice and performance of music in school, community and church settings have had deep and devastating effects throughout NSW. 

With the playing, singing and learning of music in NSW substantially on hold, the combined effect on the health and wellbeing of individuals and the community is potentially profound.

The pandemic will be with us for some time. What we most need is an effective plan, based on authoritative research, to continue playing, singing and learning music as safely as possible.

The Roundtable is seeking to work collaboratively with the relevant authorities in NSW to develop evidence-based best practice models suitable to mitigate the risks associated with musical activities such as choirs and bands.

Roundtable working groups are currently 

  • Planning a survey of the music community to gauge the effects of recent policy decisions,
  • Undertaking a review of relevant, authoritative research in the field
  • Collating and evaluating current risk management plans for instrumental and vocal music
  • Reaching out to relevant authorities in health and education (government and  non-government).

The work of the Roundtable will build on and add weight to the work already done by its member organisations including ANCA NSW.

The Roundtable is auspiced by ABODA and BANSW. Its facilitator is Stephen O’Doherty, a member of ABODA and a former NSW MP. 

Addressing this issue is both urgent and important, and we will continue to keep you up to date with developments.

In a year of firsts, the formation of the Roundtable is itself a very significant development. Our hope is that the spirit of collaboration that has brought together such a broad coalition of interests will remain well into a post-COVID future, serving music in NSW well into the future. 
 
Members of Roundtable of Instrumental, Vocal and Music Education Organisations

  • Australian Band and Orchestra Directors Association (ABODA NSW) 
  • Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB NSW) 
  • Australian National Association of Teachers of Singing (ANATS NSW)
  • Australian National Choral Association (ANCA NSW & ACT Chapter)
  • Australian School Band and Orchestra Festival (ASBOF)
  • Australian Society for Music Education (ASME NSW)
  • Association of NSW Regional Conservatoriums (ANSWRC)
  • Band Association of NSW (BANSW)
  • Gondwana Choirs
  • Kodály NSW 
  • Moorambilla Voices
  • Orff NSW 
  • Sweet Adelines Australia (represented by ANCA)
  • Sydney Symphony Orchestra
  • Sydney Youth Orchestras
  • The Sydney Conservatorium of Music


Best wishes,
Dr Naomi Cooper
President ANCA NSW & ACT Chapter


TAKE OUR SURVEY AND HELP GET US PLAYING, SINGING AND LEARNING MUSIC AGAIN

RIVMEO is undertaking the biggest data collection yet on the impact of COVID on the music sector. 

ANCA is a proud member of RIVMEO, the Roundtable of Instrumental, Vocal and Music Education Music Organisations. We helped form RIVMEO to lift the sector’s voice to government, school authorities and others. 

We want to get NSW singing, playing and learning music together again, and we need your help.

We’ve put together a comprehensive survey asking how you have been affected by the current restrictions. Has it affected your income? Has it affected your health and wellbeing?

RIVMEO is meeting with the NSW government soon to discuss ways we can return to music, and your participation in this survey will directly feed into our advocacy.

We need to hear for the widest range of ensemble musicians possible, whether instrumentalists, vocalists, music educators or students. 

This is the first survey to gather data from players and conductors alike, professional and community musicians, students of all ages, across all regions. 

We need to hear from conductors, directors, and tutors, whether self-employed or in a full-time position.

We need to hear from choir, band and orchestra members. Large ensembles and small. How has this period affected you? 

While our particular focus is NSW, we also have made provision for people in all states to take part. Our survey design allows us to separate out data from different states and we will be happy to share the results with colleagues everywhere. 

Your data will not be used in a way that can identify individuals. We are looking for trends and the bigger our dataset the better. 

Taking this survey is a tangible step you can take towards easing the restrictions. 

Take the survey and add your voice. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RIVMEO

 


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