Over the past two weeks, NZCF has been running an online survey to gather information about the social and financial impacts of Covid-19 on our member choirs and their singers. The information we collect will help us to articulate the importance of the performing arts in our communities and to make a case for more government support for community arts in the wake of Covid-19. The responses we receive are automatically aggregated and no choirs or individuals taking part in the survey are able to be identified.
If you or your choir have not yet taken part in the survey, it’s not too late. The survey will remain open until 20 July. As long as you/your choir are New Zealand-based, you can click on the links to the choir survey or the singer survey and give us your perspective – we’d love to hear from you!
Here are our findings to date…
So far, 82 choirs have taken the survey. Of those, nearly half continued to meet online during lockdown and those meetings included a mixture of social and music-related activities: 18% were purely social, 26% were purely musical and 56% were a mix of both. Although some found the technology frustrating and inadequate, and running/managing online rehearsals was tiring, the strong feeling among those that ran Zoom rehearsals or social meetings was that they really kept the choir together. Comments included:
91% of choirs have had to cancel concerts this year, some as many as 4 concerts, but most around 1-2. 64% felt their choir has experienced ‘significant’ loss of anticipated income (eg inability to apply for community or gaming trust grants, lack of ticket sale income, loss of sponsorship etc), ranging from $300 – $30,000. Many (57%) had experienced other cost implications of Covid-19 such as a drop in membership subscriptions and ongoing costs for honoraria (music director, accompanist, administrator), rehearsal venue hire, and music hire and/or storage. We are concerned to learn that 23% felt the loss of income their choir has suffered as a result of Covid-19 may impact on their choir’s viability.
General comments on the effects of Covid-19 on choirs included:
As of 3 July, 592 singers have taken the survey. For those whose choirs did not meet or rehearse during lockdown, the overwhelming aspect that respondents missed the most was the connectedness of singing with others. This one comment summed it up very well:
When asked “how important (on a scale of 1 – 10) is choral singing to your wellbeing?”, the average response was 8, and a substantial number of people rated it 9 or 10! We followed up by asking what the effect on people’s wellbeing was of not being able to participate in ‘real live’ choral activities. While a number said there was no significant impact on their wellbeing, many more responses included feelings of emptiness, isolation, apathy, anxiety, depression, loneliness, boredom, and loss of self-esteem. Here are just a few:
84% of respondents said they didn’t feel anxious about returning to rehearsals, but added riders such as:
The survey concluded with an opportunity for respondents to make general comments about choral singing and Covid-19. These are a few that encapsulate the feelings of many:
You have until 20 July to take part in our NZCF Covid-19 impact survey for choirs (please check first with your administrator or conductor to find out whether they have already completed this on behalf of your choir) or the NZCF Covid-19 impact survey for choral singers