Nova Scotia choir students release music video after not being able to sing amid the pandemic

A group of Nova Scotia high school music students has produced a music video expressing how they feel about not being unable to take part in group singing due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19.

Read more: Nova Scotia reports 15 new COVID-19 cases Friday, updates asymptomatic testing

A group of students in the music program at North Nova Education Centre in New Glasgow, N.S., wrote, produced and performed the song Without our Voices and posted the video online.

Grade 11 student Justin Skinner said producing the video was a way to get their message out.

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He said students feel that it is “unfair” they are not allowed to gather even in smaller groups with masks to sing at their school when some sports teams are being allowed to practise.

“We gathered together safely and socially distanced and put our thoughts onto paper and eventually into the song,” said Skinner.

Music students and school choirs are not allowed to gather to sing amid the pandemic, said Grade 12 student William Austin.

He said the video expressed how not being able to sing in a group with their peers is making them feel alone.

“We cannot feel that sense of community because we don’t have a choir program to embrace that,” said Austin.

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According to the Nova Scotia Department of Health, group singing is considered a “high-risk activity.”

The province’s COVID-19 protocols say it is not recommended.

Skinner said students have pleaded with their school district to allow them to gather in smaller groups with masks to sing, but their pleas have gone unanswered.

“There is so much stress and craziness in our lives right now it is what we love to do and it relaxes us and puts our mind at ease,” he said.

Read more: Nova Scotia reports new COVID-19 case at Park West School in Halifax

Global News reached out to the Nova Scotia Department of Education but did not receive a reply.

However, with COVID-19 cases continuing to rise, the province is not currently changing its recommendations regarding group singing.

Marla MacInnis, a spokesperson for the Nova Scotia Department of Health, said that “if these guidelines change, we will make those changes public.”

Grade 12 student Campbell Hayman said the students in the school choir are willing to implement any safety protocols recommended by the province, such as wearing masks and singing in small groups.

“We want to be able to have a few of us, even 10, to come together because there are 70 to 80-plus students that are missing out this year,” she said.

Skinner agreed.

“At the end of the day, we just want to be able to sing. We want what we love the most to come back,” he said.

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