Dear Trinity Community:
When we resumed “in-person” worship at the end of June, the worship committee informed the congregation about our practice of singing together as a worshiping community. We have asked the congregation to silently follow the words of the hymns/songs singing with your heart, not your voice during “in-person” worship. We have been carefully following the best research available regarding the spread of COVID-19 and how singing can be a significant source of aerosols that can transmit the virus.
Recently, preliminary results from an unprecedented study on singing and performing arts was released from the University of Colorado–Boulder and the University of Maryland. This study was commissioned by numerous organizations with research being conducted over the last few months. Scientific studies on aerosol production in this field was lacking and there was very little data on what kinds of aerosol generation happens when singing and playing instruments. This phenomenon was studied in the aerosol laboratory at the University of Colorado–Boulder and with this data, the scientists can provide better evidence-based guidance.
There were several key takeaways from this study including the importance of well-fitting masks, social distance, duration of singing activity not being more than 30 minutes, air flow and air exchange rate per hour, and hygiene. We have collected data from our heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units at both campuses and have determined a way forward for some singing during “in-person” worship.
Therefore, the worship committee has decided we can safely sing the closing hymn/song at each worship service beginning August 29-30. While we deeply wish we could return to pre-pandemic amounts of singing in our services, we are grateful to have guidance to be able to support safely singing our closing songs for the time being. We are a singing community and in this small step we will once again be able to join our collective singing voices in praising God.
The worship committee is committed to evaluating this important research as it unfolds and make future plans accordingly.
Peace be to you,
Ben A. Spalding
Director of Music and the Arts
Chair, Worship Planning Committee