This choir practice may have cost lives

This choir practice may have cost lives


norman lebrecht

March 30, 2020

The LA Times reports the fatal consequence of a rehearsal that went ahead in the gathering gloom.

… On March 6, Adam Burdick, the choir’s conductor, informed the 121 members in an email that amid the “stress and strain of concerns about the virus,” practice would proceed as scheduled at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church.

Sixty singers showed up…. Nearly three weeks later, 45 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or ill with the symptoms, at least three have been hospitalized, and two are dead.

Read on here.





  • Jenni Frazer says:

    Why are the people in the pic wearing kippot if it’s a church choir?

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Terrible – innocent people hurt and killed. This underlines the possible consequences of returning to ‘normal’ too soon.

  • drummerman says:

    Why would this idiotic conductor think it was OK to ignore the directives of medical professionals and elected officials? The bum should be thrown in jail.

    • Bruce says:

      The directives that would have prevented this gathering weren’t in place yet.

      “Skagit County hadn’t reported any cases, schools and businesses remained open, and prohibitions on large gatherings had yet to be announced.”

      The decision to go ahead with rehearsal was made on March 6; the rehearsal was March 10. Attendance was optional; about 50% of the choir stayed home. Nobody who came appeared to have any symptoms. Everyone brought their own music (no sharing) and avoided direct physical contact. Hand sanitizer was offered at the door. This was in line with guidelines that were in place at the time.

      (The article is behind a paywall but for some reason I can read it on my phone.)

      It’s hard to remember now, but there was a time when social distancing didn’t yet exist and we thought that washing your hands and not touching each other was enough.

  • Peter San Diego says:

    Just yesterday, a large church in Tampa Bay, FL, was packed with worshipers. They had apparently been encouraged by their pastor to ignore social distancing advisories. That will be another group for epidemiologists to study…

    The choir in Skagit, WA, at least, practiced what were thought at the time (all of three weeks and a couple of days ago!) to be safe procedures. (The forceful inhalation as well as exhalation by singers would have given me pause, however.)

  • Karl says:

    It’s going to be at least a year before anyone performs a live opera again.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      No, that is almost certainly untrue. The lockdown is likely to last 3-4 months.

      • M2N2K says:

        The lockdown may, and we hope shall, end after “just” a few months, but that does not mean that live opera performances will resume the very next day. In fact, it is absolutely certain that they will not.