Dear Father, Dear Deacon
The following guidance from the Government and the Bishops Conference has been released which updates the previous advice on singing. Please ensure you comply with these guidelines.
Singing, chanting and the use of musical instruments
- Led devotions
There should be no group singing inside places of worship when worshippers are present.
From 11 July, outside only, small groups of professional singers will be able to sing in front of worshippers. Singing in groups should be limited to professional singers only and should be limited to a small set group of people. Both the singers and the worshippers should be outdoors.
Indoors - where essential to an act of worship, one individual only should be permitted to sing or chant, and the use of plexi-glass screens should be considered to protect worshippers from them, as this will further prevent transmission and the screen can be easily cleaned. Where music plays a big part in worship, and recordings are available, we suggest you consider using these as an alternative to live singing.
You are advised only to play musical instruments that are not blown into. Organs can be played for faith practices, as well as general maintenance, but should be cleaned thoroughly before and after use.
Groups of professional singers are now able to rehearse and record indoors for broadcast (see the [Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport guidance for information on how this can be done safely).
- Congregational activity
Except for the limited circumstances outlined above, people should avoid singing, shouting, raising voices and/or playing music at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult or that may encourage shouting. This is because of the potential for increased risk of transmission from aerosol and droplets. Therefore, spoken responses during worship should also not be in a raised voice.
Activities such as singing, chanting, shouting and/or playing of instruments that are blown into should be specifically avoided in worship or devotions. This is because there is a possible additional risk of transmission in environments where individuals are singing or chanting as a group, and this applies even if social distancing is being observed or face coverings are used.
The full updated guidance can be found online here.
With all good wishes
Canon Stephen Wright VG