COVID-19 Recovery Project Gets its First Boost from ECSF
July 11, 2020 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Dawson Creek Choral Society has received its first emergency support through the Community Foundations of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund, administered by the Northeast Regional Community Foundation through the Government of Canada. DCCS Artistic Director Caitlyn Triebel met with Susie Lefferson, Executive Director of the Northeast Regional Community Foundation on July 9th for the official cheque presentation of $10,000. The funding was made possible through a collaborative mutual relationship between the DCCS and the Kiwanis Performing Arts Centre, where the DCCS hosts the majority of its public and performance events.
Since the COVID-19 shutdown in mid-March, the Choral Society was prevented from holding 12 major performances and community engagements, which would have reached more than 3,500 people in our region. Nearly 150 local youth and adults saw their hours and months of preparation in rehearsal, design, advertising, and advocacy evaporate as events were postponed or canceled. While the organization, like performing arts groups around the globe, remains dark for the coming summer and autumn months, the DCCS does look forward to a full recovery in 2021. Long term recovery will likely see a change in the way programs and events are delivered for years to come. “Public and community support is imperative,” says Triebel, “to continue to adapt to evolving needs in our society.”
It’s well documented that choral and group singing is incredibly beneficial for the mental and physical health of individuals and communities. The isolation experienced by individuals as a result of COVID-19 has already had a profound impact on mental health for Canadians. According to Choral Canada, 10% of the Canadian population sings in almost 28,000 choirs of all kinds (approximately 3.5 million singers!). In an open letter penned by Choral Canada, choir leaders highlight the need to “work with health officials and policy makers to find modifications and practical guidelines for safe singing, guidelines that are rooted in scientific research.” The group seeks “to create sensible safety guidelines that align with other sectors, such as adult rec hockey, gyms, dance studios, children’s soccer camps, etc.” The University of Alberta is already underway with a study to observe the aerosolizing of respiratory particles and droplets that may or may not be transmitted in singing situations
About the DCCS Recovery Project
The Choral Society’s COVID-19 Recovery Project involves a multitude of factors. Programs, which usually resume every September, will need to take a hybrid form of small in-person gatherings and virtual classes. In a discipline that was never intended to be practiced in isolation, choir and theatre leaders everywhere have been developing new creative strategies for virtual learning. Getting artistic staff hired again is paramount to the amount of planning and preparation required to restart programs. Once members are able to gather as one, the community non-profit is faced with a need to relocate to a space that will be large enough to accommodate physical distancing measures for up to 40 people at a time. Whether singing in the future will be masked, or continue to require distancing of 2m2 for each singer, programs everywhere are anxious to know what the future may bring.
There’s a saying that for every minute of live entertainment onstage, there are 100 hours of work behind it. DCCS programs are no different in that respect, and in order to be able to continue to entertain audiences and provide performance opportunities to youth and adults in Dawson Creek and surrounding area, there has to be a safe and effective way to practice. We hope that, with a hybrid system of program delivery in the fall, we’ll be able to host live (and live-streamed) events again in 2021.
The Canada Emergency Community Support Fund is a $350 million fund that is being implemented with Community Foundations of Canada, the Canadian Red Cross, and United Way Centraide Canada, in partnership with local foundations across the country. Its goal is to provide support to charities and non-profit organizations serving vulnerable Canadians. Dawson Creek, Pouce Coupe, Hudson’s Hope, Taylor, Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge – eligible organizations can still apply for grants of up to $40,000 until July 27th. The Northeast Regional Community Foundation is reviewing and awarding funding on a weekly basis to support projects that help ensure no one is left behind in COVID-19 recovery measures.
Dawson Creek Choral Society
Music truly is a lifelong journey. At DCCS we work to provide music education and enrichment opportunities to hundreds of families in BC’s South Peace and Northern Alberta. Our educational programs cater to young families, youth, and adults from many different backgrounds. We pride ourselves in our community engagement and our relationships with our partner organizations.