After careful consideration, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir decided to record its professional core of singers in the creation of Kannamma-a concert of Thanksgiving. Recordings were done in early September.
We have learned a lot from the process of recording and from feedback from choristers. As the situation in Toronto and Ontario changes, we are updating the procedures we will implement for any potential future recordings.
The TMC developed an extensive safety protocol for the Kannamma recordings that followed City of Toronto guidelines regarding performers being a minimum of two metres/6 feet apart. There was no audience and so no Toronto requirement for impermeable barrier between singers and audience.
- The TMC discussed health measures in advance with singers and anyone who was uncomfortable with recording in person did not come to the recording session and was able to record their parts at home.
- The TMC recorded on two nights at Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church: September 11 and 15. There were 18 choristers, the conductor, one dancer, and 5 staff at the September 11th recording session; and 16 choristers, the conductor, pianist, and 5 staff at the September 15th recording session. A separate recording session was held on September 15th with the 12 orchestra members.
- Trinity St. Paul’s is a large high-ceilinged room. Their regulations specified a maximum of 22 people allowed on the stage and 24 on the sanctuary floor in front of the stage. No-one else was in the space the days of our recordings – either before or after the TMC.
- A health questionnaire was sent to each performer and staff member on the day of the recording session and had to be completed before that person could participate.
- Every person at the recording session had their temperature taken on arrival.
- The stage was marked with physically-distanced spots for each singer which were in a zipper format which created 7 feet (2.13 metres) between singers and 10 feet (3 metres) between singers standing directly in front of each other.
- All participants wore masks. Choristers wore masks on arrival, as they gathered on stage, and during breaks. They removed their masks to record once they were all in place on the stage. Staff wore masks throughout the recording session.
- For the orchestra, there were impermeable barriers between the five brass and woodwind players. Each brass and woodwind player had an aerosol disposal pad. All music stands and chairs were sanitized just prior to the musicians’ arrival. Music was waiting for them on their stands and distributed by only one person.
- All performer and staff email addresses were provided to the venue for contact tracing.