Singing in Canadian Schools: COVID-19 Impact Survey – Final Report and Executive Summary

The final documents for the Singing in Canadian Schools: COVID-19 Impact Survey have been completed and are now available for viewing by the public.

It is once again a critical time for advocacy for our music programs- restrictions are in place that forbid singing and wind instrument playing in schools across our province and others. Highlighted findings from the survey results show the severe negative impact that the pandemic has had on the delivery of music programs across the country:

  • Students were not permitted to sing during regular music classes in 70% of music teachers’ school music programs.
  • Extra-/Co-curricular music programs involving singing were suspended in 91% of respondents’ schools.
  • Teachers were unable to teach 60% of the mandated music learning outcomes in Canadian music curricula due to health restrictions, and they were unable to assess students in relation to 66% of these mandated learning outcomes.

The Nova Scotia Choral Federation, Choral Canada, and the many other supporting organisations of this survey invite our membership to #SpeakUpForSinging by starting the conversation in your community and helping music educators return to doing what they do best! For more information on how you can #SpeakUpForSinging, click here.

To view the Executive Summary of the COVID-19 Impact Survey, click here.

To view the Full Report of the COVID-19 Impact Survey, click here.

#LetThemSing: Singing and Wind Playing in Nova Scotian Schools


On Monday, January 10th, Choral Canada, the Canadian Band Association, the Nova Scotia Band Association, the Nova Scotia Choral Federation, the Nova Scotia Music Education Council, the Kodaly Society of Nova Scotia, and the Kodaly Society of Canada shared a letter advocating for fair and informed decision-making in relation to restrictions on music education. This letter highlights the research and studies that show that, with the appropriate measures, singing and wind playing can be done safely. It is discouraging to see a return of restrictions on singing and wind playing when there has been no reported spread of COVID-19 linked to music education in Canada. Meanwhile, despite the reported spread of COVID-19 during sport, school sports activities have continued with minimal restrictions.

Though this letter has already been shared with a large and comprehensive list of government contacts in Education, Health, and Culture, we ask music educators and our membership to share this letter with school principals, parent support groups, and on your social media platforms.

Here are links to the Singing & Wind Playing letter as both a PDF and three separate PNGs:

 

Choral Canada: National Competition for Choral Writing

Choral Canada encourages and supports the composition of new choral works by Canadian composers.  To that end, Choral Canada invites submissions to the 2022 Choral Canada Competition for Choral Writing. Within this competition, composers may submit to two categories, the Diane Loomer Award, co-sponsored by Cypress Choral Music,  and the Stephen Chatman Student Award.

For full details on the 2022 Choral Canada Competition for Choral Writing, please visit https://www.choralcanada.org/competitionforchoralwriting.html

Application Deadline:  February 6th, 2022

Click here to see The Diane Loomer Award guidelines. 

Click here to see the Stephen Chatman Student Award guidelines.

Job Posting: Communications Director for Choral Canada and CAPACOA

                         


Choral Canada (CC) and the Canadian Association for the Performing Arts (CAPACOA) are joining forces to create a challenging and rewarding full-time, bilingual (French/English) job for a communications professional who wants to make a difference.  As a remote position, the role can be performed from anywhere in Canada.

20 hours per week will be dedicated to CC and 20 hours per week will be dedicated to CAPACOA.

For more information about Choral Canada, please visit  https://www.choralcanada.org

For more information about the Canadian Association for the Performing Arts, please visit https://capacoa.ca/en/

Application deadline: January 17, 2021

Click here to see the Communications Director job posting. 

 

Job Posting: Artistic Director for Oakville Choir for Children & Youth

The Oakville Children’s Choir (“Oakville Choir”) seeks a visionary, collaborative and dynamic music educator and leader for the role of Artistic Director. Building on the successes of the Oakville Choir to date, the Artistic Director will define and shape the Oakville Choir’s artistic vision and will be responsible for the leadership and direction of the Oakville Choir, including but not limited to programming, rehearsals, performances, conducting choirs, and recruiting and selection of the artistic team, as necessary.

For more details about the Oakville Choir, please visit oakvillechoir.org

Application deadline: January 31, 2022

Click here to see the Artistic Director job posting.

The NSCF’s Year in Review

Tune Up & Sing Out:

This past spring, the Nova Scotia Choral Federation partnered with the Robbie Songs Project and the Canadian Chamber Choir to host “Tune Up & Sing Out”. This virtual program allowed choristers from across the globe (Canada, the United States, and Australia!) to spruce up their vocal technique, clear out the COVID cobwebs and share in the joy of creating music together, all from the safety of their own homes!

The project consisted of two virtual workshops led by Dr. Julia Davids and choristers from the Canadian Chamber Choir, and culminated with the creation of a virtual choir performance of “Why Can’t We”. An original song by Nova Scotian folk duo, Naming the Twins, “Why Can’t We” was arranged for choir by Nova Scotian composer Donna Rhodenizer. Please enjoy this musical offering by the Tune Up & SIng Out Virtual chorus with video edited by William Duffy!

 

Choral Companion:

A new initiative by the NSCF, Choral Companion offered choristers an opportunity to come together with local choral and vocal specialists. Led by Dr. Frances Farrell, Jason Davis, Lucy Hayes-Davis and Lynette Wahlstrom, participants learned choral selections from a variety of styles and genres and participated in private vocal lessons and group masterclasses. Highlights from the week included a talent night (an homage to our Talent Night at Sing Summer Camps) where program staff and choristers alike shared their own musical offerings with the rest of the program participants.

Please enjoy the Choral Companion Chorus’ performance of “Heilig, Heilig, Heilig” by Franz Schubert, led by Dr. Frances Farrell!

Nova Scotia Youth Choir:

After plans for our 30th anniversary concert tour were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 iteration of the Nova Scotia Youth Choir was planned with a virtual format in mind. Again partnering with Settler conductor and NSYC alum Christina Murray, the NSCF also brought on Mi’kmaw filmmaker Shelley MacDonald and Mi’kmaw dancer Sarah Prosper to create a film project for choir and dancer.

Choristers returned to our summer home at the Berwick United Church Camp for a rehearsal weekend in late August. This weekend was facilitated by water protector and Mi’kmaw knowledge keepers Dorene Bernard and Ducie Howe. The NSYC choristers, committee, and NSCF staff were privileged to learn from Dorene and Ducie and to participate in ceremony as a way to ground our project. The following weekend, the NSYC 2021 choir gathered again at First Baptist United to record with the help of Stonehouse Sound.

To close the production period of the NSYC project, the NSYC choir and team captured video around the province at Point Pleasant Park and the Treaty Truckhouse in Shubenacadie. This truckhouse has become the gathering point for resistance, and is one way that Mi’kmaq water protectors constantly exercise and demonstrate their treaty rights.

We are thrilled to have received funding from the Canada Council of the Arts and cannot wait to share the final film from this project in the New Year. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for updates!

Looking Ahead:

Despite the recent restrictions that have been announced in response to the Omicron variant here in Nova Scotia, the NSCF is beginning preparations for a return to more in-person programming! Our dates are booked at Berwick United Church Camp for Sing Summer 2022, and we are hoping for a return of our other programs like the Children’s Chorus of Nova Scotia, Juvenata, and other workshop opportunities.

Again, keep your eyes peeled for an official announcement in the New Year! Happy Holidays!

-NSCF Staff (Tim & Ryan)

 

“Why Can’t We”: Tune Up & Sing Out Virtual Chorus with the Canadian Chamber Choir

This past spring, the Nova Scotia Choral Federation partnered with the Robbie Songs Project and the Canadian Chamber Choir to host “Tune Up & Sing Out”. This virtual program allowed choristers from across the globe (Canada, the United States, and Australia!) to spruce up their vocal technique, clear out the COVID cobwebs and share in the joy of creating music together, all from the safety of their own homes!

The project consisted of two virtual workshops led by Dr. Julia Davids and choristers from the Canadian Chamber Choir, and culminated with the creation of a virtual choir performance of “Why Can’t We”. An original song by Nova Scotian folk duo, Naming the Twins, “Why Can’t We” was arranged for choir by Nova Scotian composer Donna Rhodenizer. Please enjoy this musical offering by the Tune Up & Sing Out Virtual chorus with video edited by William Duffy!

 

Sing The North: A Cross-Canada Virtual Choir Tour Starting February 5th!

A Message from Sing The North:

We are thrilled to announce that the full Season 2 of our X-Canada Virtual Choir Tour is now posted on our website and open for bookings. NSCF members will receive 10% off STN projects when they use the code “nscf” at checkout. This offer is valid on all virtual choir rehearsal/concert projects and season passes. (The only activities excluded are our Choir School courses.) As a member of our own provincial choral federation, we know the benefits of membership first-hand – especially during the pandemic. We want to do our part, however small, in incentivizing others to support theirs.

STN Artistic Director Kathryn Whitney writes:

“Choral federations are the backbone of Canadian choral music and I am so grateful for everything you have done to keep choristers connected, informed, and singing safely during this unbelievably challenging time. I am so pleased to be able to offer your members a blanket discount to all our SING THE NORTH concert projects. It’s my hope that this may help to encourage choristers who may unable to attend in-person choirs owing to ill-health to keep singing, while at the same time strengthening their bond to, and sense of advantage in, their local choral federations, who continue to do so much to keep the music alive during this challenging time.”

In the new year, we’re heading to the East Coast to explore Nova Scotia through Jeff Enns and Rita Joe’s “I Lost My Talk.” All proceeds from this project will be donated to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society. It’s a SING THE NORTH tradition to have a field trip coinciding with each project, to educate and inspire our singers! In addition to the above, our current or upcoming STN projects will feature the works of:

  • Andrew Balfour: “Vision Chant” (Starts Feb. 5)
  • R. Murray Schafer: “Snowforms” (Starts Feb. 12)
  • Imant Raminsh: “In the Night We Shall Go In” (Starts March 19)
  • Jeff Enns and Rita Joe’s “I Lost My Talk” (Starts May 1)
  • Ian Tyson: “Four Strong Winds” (Starts May 14)
  • Jocelyn Morlock: “Io, Io!” (Start date TBD)

We invite you to learn more about these and other STN projects on our website.

Updates to COVID-19 Restrictions

Starting at 9 a.m. on Friday, December 17, and lasting until at least the new year, the following restrictions will be in place. Please find below the restrictions that may be relevant to our choral community.

Physical distance and mask requirements:

  • physical distance of two metres (six feet) is required indoors and outdoors, except among people in the same household or a consistent social group of up to 20 people
  • individuals, businesses and organizations all have responsibility for ensuring mask requirements are followed and can all be subject to enforcement action

Gathering limits:

  • gathering limits of 50 per cent of capacity to a maximum of 150 people indoors and 250 outdoors apply to social gatherings, regular faith services, weddings, funerals and their associated receptions and visitation, special events, meetings, training, festivals, and audiences for sports events and arts and culture events (like performances and movie theatres) that are hosted by a recognized business or organization, including faith organizations
  • a limit of 60 participants indoors and outdoors applies to professional and amateur arts and culture rehearsals and performances; competitions are not allowed; professionals must have a plan for their workplace; physical distance is not required, and masks are recommended when possible indoors and outdoors
  • children age 11 and younger continue to be restricted from entering Nova Scotia to participate in sports and arts and culture events and from participating in them outside Nova Scotia

Vaccinations:

There is no change in the requirement for proof of full vaccination for discretionary activities. It is still required for attendees and volunteers, even in places where gathering limits and physical distance will apply.

Additional Resources:

  • Nova Scotia Coronavirus website: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/
  • COVID-19 testing and Online booking, visit: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/symptoms-and-testing/
  • Government of Canada: https://canada.ca/coronavirus or 1-833-784-4397 (toll-free)

The Mental Health Provincial Crisis Line is available 24/7 to anyone experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis, or someone concerned about them, by calling 1-888-429-8167 (toll-free)