Let our people sing, plead UK chorus chiefs

Let our people sing, plead UK chorus chiefs


norman lebrecht

June 16, 2020

A clutch of singers and chorus directors have just published an open letter in the Guardian, appealing to the churches and the Government to let Britain sing again.

They write: ‘…we have had one of the most vibrant choral landscapes in the world. Our professional choral life, consisting of world-renowned chamber choirs, vocal ensembles, opera choruses, cathedral choirs and theatre ensembles, faces an uncertain future. The financial picture for such groups has always been challenging, even in the best of times, but the outlook now for such ensembles, mostly made up of freelance musicians, is not an optimistic one. 

‘We need church leaders to have the courage to speak out so that we can make singing together in churches work within certain guidelines. We need the government to show how we can restart singing together on an equal footing with opening theme parks, shopping and kicking a football around. It is imperative that we find a way for choirs in this country to resume as soon and as safely as we can….’

The signatories include composers Bob Chilcott and John Rutter, opera singer Sarah Connolly, LSO and CBSO chorus director Simon Halsey and Harry Christophers of The Sixteen.




  • concerned says:

    It is heart-warming to know how much people want to sing again, but please don’t ask our government put our children at risk. There has been no full analysis of the Concertgebouw or Washington Choir infections 102/130 and 45/60 respectively to let such things happen again so soon….or have the signatories’ to these letters forgotten already?

  • Elizabeth Lloyd-Davies says:

    Let the people Sing

  • Maria says:

    Very hard to sing at a two-metre distance, particularly when it involves amateur singing. Best keep it on line for now as per tgd German directive to churches than take risks.

  • Lausitzer says:

    They don’t need the government to show them how they could do it: Wear face masks. It’s as simple as that. And perhaps they should just try it instead of telling that it is impossible (which, I fear, would indeed mean that it is irresponsible).

    • Maria says:

      I AM a professional singer and teach amateur and young professionals, Amateur choirs in general don’t breath well or deep enough or close their vocal cords sufficiently at the best of times. Singing with a mask is just plain stupid and would force the singers to come to harm and overdoing, and then unable to portray any facial expression from the words they are expressing.

  • Thomas Dawkins says:

    I have great respect for the music making of many of the gentlemen (and lady) on the list of signatories. However, the attitude that the government is inflicting this upon musicians as some kind of a punishment has got to stop. Nature has given us a once-in-a-century situation, a virus which is spread by droplet, which is increased by speaking, singing, or playing wind instruments. The Sixteen would need the same amount of space as a symphonic chorus, not because they’ve been bad and have to stand at least two meters apart, but because it’s been scientifically determined that there may well be fewer than sixteen of them if they stand too close and sing.

  • Jack says:

    I’m a little surprised Nigel Short and Peter Phillips didn’t sign on to this.