Frequently Asked Questions

Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several changes will be in place for the 2020-2021 season for the safety of our singers and their families. PMYC will NOT be in live performances; we will hold in-person rehearsals with many precautions in the early fall and spring, and will hold online rehearsals for the rest of the season. Both in-person and online rehearsals will be shorter in length and include time for social interaction and for music theory. All singers will work on both short-term musical projects and full-ensemble works to be presented online at the end of each semester.

Where are rehearsals held?

Rehearsals will take place outside of First United Church at 848 Lake Street, on the west side of the church.

What are the different ensembles, and which one is right for my child?

PMYC welcomes singers in pre-K through high school. PMYC is five separate singing groups called ensembles, giving every singer a place, no matter their experience! Each ensemble is designed to offer rewarding and fun performance opportunities and enriching experiences for your child to develop artistically, vocally and personally. The ensembles are: Melody Makers (pre-K through 1st grade); Primo Coro (2nd through 3rd/4th grade); Canterini (4th/5th through 7th/8th grade); Harmonia (7th/8th through high school); and A Cappella (7th/8th through high school). Email pmyouthchorus@gmail.com to be placed in the right ensemble.

When are rehearsals?

Rehearsals began September 8th and will run through mid-May.  It is not too late to join!

Outdoor class sizes will be smaller and class durations will be shorter to reduce the amount of exposure to other singers.  There will be markers on the ground for safe distancing.  Masks will be required at all times.  Hand sanitizer will be made available to singers as they enter and exit.  Singers will be asked to keep their hands and possessions to themselves at all times.  For the younger ensembles, two conductors and parent volunteers will be on site to provide extra supervision.

How will my child be kept safe during outdoor sessions?

How long will the outdoor sessions continue?

Sessions will remain outdoors until the weather becomes too inhospitable.  The artistic staff will make this decision based on the tolerance level of their singers as well as their preparedness for weather conditions. If students dress appropriately and are comfortable, we can stay outdoors longer. We currently expect to be outdoors until mid-October.

Primo Coro should always finish before dark. Canterini should mostly finish before dark. Harmonia will have some days when the sun is going down as they finish. A Cappella will rehearse almost entirely after sunset. The area around the church, particularly the patio area where the older ensembles will be rehearsing, is well-lit by outdoor and indoor church lights, street lights, and general lights from the downtown area. Since this is a new experience for us, we will see how it goes! If necessary, additional lights will be set up. Additionally, we will ask the two older ensembles to bring book lights to illuminate their music. We always have the option of going online if need be.

What about when it gets dark outside?

Will there be a camping trip?

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we are unable to host the annual PMYC retreat this year.  We understand that this event is one of the highlights of the season for many kids and we look forward to bringing it back as soon as it is safe to do so.  The artistic staff will do what they can to take extra time to build relationships this year that are typically strengthened during the retreat

What happens once the outside sessions are done?

Sessions will move online after the fall outdoor sessions have concluded.  As with our schools, PMYC had to adapt quickly to providing programming online this past spring with little experience or warning.  We learned a lot through that experience.  We are planning a different kind of online experience for our students this fall.

What will the event schedule be?

The calendar is available in the PMYC Handbook under “Important Dates”. Highlights for the fall include:

  • 12.5       Virtual Holiday Concert

  • 12.8       Primo Coro & Canterini Caroling

  • 12.11     Harmonia & A Cappella Caroling

  • 12.12     Sing We Joyous (virtual)

How much is tuition this year? Will it be discounted?

Tuition this season has been set at a discounted rate as follows:

  • Primo Coro $420

  • Canterini $525

  • Harmonia $825

  • A Cappella $540

  • Harmonia & A Cappella $1,105

There are sibling discounts as well as multi-ensemble discounts. We believe that cost should never be a reason for a child not to join PMYC to share in making music. Financial aid is available. Email pmyouthchorus@gmail.com for more information.

What will happen in the winter/spring?

After winter break, PMYC will begin the spring season online.  When weather permits, the session will move outdoors. If state guidelines move to Phase 5, we will consider a change to our plans.

How did you decide to do in-person sessions? Is it based on science?

Our decision took into consideration available science regarding singing during the pandemic, and the expressed desires of our families.

Our goal, always, is to give our singers a great musical education, but, more importantly at this time, some joy and comfort. Most kids will be at home, online, for school, and our singers and families have let us know they dearly crave spending real time with their chorus family.

 

We are a chorus, and what we do is sing together. It is a singular art form, and a unique joy. Few things are as good for you as singing together. Our artistic staff found it difficult to sing together online, and they felt they couldn’t provide the quality of programming they wanted to give to our singers if we didn’t meet in person, so we agreed to research that option. What we’ve found is this:

 

The scientific data available in regards the coronavirus and singing agrees that singing produces a larger amount of aerosols than normal speech. Aerosols can hang in the air. If a person comes in contact with these invisible particles, by breathing in that air, they can become infected with COVID-19. Current understanding is that traditional chorus activity is particularly dangerous during the pandemic.

 

It’s important to note that reports of the virus spreading in choruses refer to groups that met indoors, in a relatively small space, with poor ventilation (the air didn’t move around much, but rather hung in place), people were not wearing masks or distancing (rather they were standing shoulder to shoulder, sometimes facing each other while singing), they were sharing snacks and talking and laughing close together during their break. All these factors helped intensify the problem.

 

Everything we’ve read addresses the dangers of singing indoors,and nearly all reporting suggests that moving outdoors greatly alleviates the danger. This is because the minuscule aerosols are quickly dispersed by wind and sun and greatly neutralized by the amount of air. Much of the aerosol simply evaporates, and what remains is diluted by being outdoors. Imagine a drop of ink in a bathtub full of water -- it almost immediately disappears as it is diluted.

https://time.com/5883081/covid-19-transmitted-aerosols/

 

But we weren’t satisfied with just moving outdoors, we’ve also insisted on everyone wearing masks at all times, distancing of at least 6 feet, limiting the time we spend in rehearsal, limiting the amount of people present and limiting the amount of open-mouth singing we’ll do (filling out the time with humming, music theory, musical games, rhythm work, movement and social time.)

P.O. Box 2082, Oak Park, Illinois 60303-2082

Phone: 708-406-9597   Email: pmyouthchorus@gmail.com

This program is partially supported by the Oak Park Area Arts Council, in partnership with the Village of Oak Park and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency.

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