HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - According to Chorus America, 1 in 6 Americans over the age of 18 are involved in a choral group or church choir.
But with the fast spread of COVID-19, it's an art form that has been muted across the nation and here in Hampton Roads.
"We were at the point making preparations for our final concert of the season," said Chuck Woodward, Artistic Director with The Virginia Chorale.
Woodward was set to direct "A New Land," the final concert of the group's season in May, but the coronavirus left the singing group, which formed in 1984, silent.
"Choir singing is in doubt because of the data that keeps coming out," said Woodward. "These aerosols and things particles seem to travel farther with singing and speaking."
Case in point: In the state of Washington, where in March 61 singers attended their two-hour choir practice, 87% of the singers then developed COVID-19 after coming in contact with one symptomatic person, according to a recent CDC study.
"The essence of chorale singing is that close relationship with your neighbor, who you work in collaboration with," explained Woodward. "Having them being 20 feet apart challenges that."
The group often performs at churches and other houses of worship that have also been restricted. Woodward says this art form can't be accomplished properly while wearing a mask.
"So, we are preparing and exploring virtual concerts; we would like to do one a month," he said.
While they're staying mute for now, they're hoping to project the love of song in the future.
"They miss it terribly. They have such a connection with the musical community," said Woodward.