March 10, 2020
Unfortunately, because of the way circumstances are progressing, we have to take further action regarding events and our season. The CDC is now recommending the cancellation of gatherings of 50 or more people for 6-8 weeks and the White House is recommending the cancellation of gatherings of 10 or more people for 2 weeks, likely more. This is obviously a huge development and impacts our scheduling significantly.
Here are the many changes and additions to earlier cancellations:
1. All remaining performances in April and May are cancelled, with two exceptions: The Washington International Competition (May 23 and 24) and the Avanti Masterwork Festival (May 30). Any changes to these two events will be communicated at a later date. The following are the additional cancellations impacted by this decision:
2. The Arioso Chorale’s summer tour to the Amalfi Music Festival is being postponed until either this fall or next summer. More information will be shared as soon as it is available, so please hold questions regarding the tour as we sort everything out.
3. The HS Piano Competition on Sunday, April 5 is cancelled.
4. The HS Woodwind/Brass/Percussion Competition on Saturday, March 21 is postponed. UMD has closed all facilities for outside use, so a new date is pending.
5. The Annual Meeting/Luncheon on Friday, May 10 is postponed. The Annual Luncheon will be rescheduled to Friday, October 23, 2020 from 12:00pm-2:00pm at the same venue, DACOR Bacon House.
6. We are advising all Music-at-Home Groups and the Associate Pianists against meeting for the next several weeks. It is likely that “shelter in place” policies will be put in place in the days and weeks to come, so it’s best to be prepared for this reality.
It’s been a long several days, and unfortunately things are going to get worse before they get better. Take care of each other, stay safe, and stay home whenever possible. It is incredibly important to slow the advancement of this virus and to limit the burden on our healthcare system.
If you, like us, are missing attending concerts, making music, and more, we’ve been collecting several resources to help us get through this time of isolation. We hope these help!
FMMC is now taking additional steps in order to adequately protect our membership from the development of COVID-19, as well as assist efforts throughout the region to slow the spread of this virus. We are in the thick of assessing where things stand with the expansion of this pandemic, and how best we can proceed in the days to come. As of right now, there are several significant changes over the next two weeks that are outlined below:
1. We are cancelling all concerts until the end of March. That includes the following:
While these concerts don’t have large audiences compared to some of our other events, and are certainly well shy of the 1,000-attendee events that Mayor Bowser has requested be cancelled, the reality is that our audience base (and many of our performers) fall in the at-risk category for this virus due to their age and pre-existing conditions. This is the best way to protect as many of those people as possible.
2. The HS Woodwind/Brass/Percussion Competition scheduled for March 21 at the University of Maryland will continue as scheduled unless we learn otherwise from the facilities team that the space will be unavailable. As the University is essentially shuttered from students and classes, the space should be sufficiently clean, and there are only 11 competitors and their families, none of whom are in the “at-risk” category. If that changes, we will certainly update you. The same applies to the HS Piano Competition on April 5 at the Steinway Piano Gallery.
3. In-Person Performance Member Auditions originally scheduled for Wednesday, March 18 are postponed to some time in May. We do not have the new date as of yet (Calvary is also enduring a flurry of rapid administrative decision-making at the moment), but will share it as soon as we have it.
4. The FMMC Board will be conducting its March meeting virtually/remotely. Board members, be on the lookout for more information.
5. The FMMC Foundation Board March meeting is cancelled.
6. We are deferring our decision regarding April events (and the Spring Luncheon in May) until the end of March. A significant amount is likely to change over the next several weeks, so we cannot make this decision with so much unknown. For now, consider these events as occurring as planned, while operating under our initial policy of Flexibility, Careful Watching, and Rapid Response, which you can review below.
As a reminder, all performances scheduled at retirement homes and continuing care facilities are cancelled through the end of April. That has (and will not) change.
Thank you so much to those of you who’ve reached out with concerns regarding the development of COVID-19 (coronavirus), inquiring into FMMC’s response and preparedness. We have greatly appreciated your care and patience, and hope this statement will address as many of your worries as possible.
Our leadership has reviewed the current state of affairs regarding COVID-19, and our first step is to announce the cancellation of chamber programs being offered in retirement homes, senior centers, and continuing care facilities through the end of April. That includes:
For those of you active in the Outreach Program at similar facilities, while we are not asking you to cancel those performances, we are asking you to use your personal discretion and follow the procedures enacted by each individual venue.
The only other cancellation at this time is the Steinway Piano Gallery in Bethesda, which has elected to suspend use of their performance space through May, cancelling our April 11 concert.
Our top priority is the health and safety of our audience members and musicians, which is why we have made this decision, particularly based on the way this disease seems to affect our senior community. That said, at this time we are not planning to cancel any further venues unless those venues opt to close.
Outlined below are our policies and expectations for how FMMC can do its part to prevent the spread of this disease while still hosting performances. As we go through these uncertain times together, we ask first and foremost for your flexibility, careful watching, and rapid response.
This tenet of our policy primarily extends to our membership and musicians. We understand how much work is put into preparing the music for these events, as well as how much logistical work goes into planning them. It is incredibly frustrating to put in the work to prepare, and then have the rug pulled out from under you. Please understand that we do not cancel them lightly, and we will do our best to make it right, either later in the spring or next season.
Ultimately we need to do what is best for everyone, even if it can be frustrating. We appreciate your understanding as we work together to determine our best path forward.
There are many ways you can aid in the prevention of this disease, and ways you can work with FMMC to ensure our events are as safe as possible for musicians and audiences.
First and foremost, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published the following guidance and preventative measures:
In addition, we are working with venues to ensure that they are doing what is necessary to guarantee that their facilities are clean, sanitization products are available (such as soap, hand sanitizer, tissues, and disinfectant), and they are carefully monitoring the situation and persons that interact with their facilities. If you see something that is being done improperly, please notify us, or the venue directly, as soon as possible.
We strongly discourage anyone from coming to rehearsals and performances when they are sick, and remind everyone that their rest and recovery are as important now as during any standard cold or flu season when it comes to spreading disease throughout the community.
If you are uncomfortable with performing in any venue, you are of course able to cancel your performance. If you elect to do so, please be prompt in your cancellation in order to allow substitutions.
Remember: you do not have to show symptoms to be contagious. If you discover that you have been exposed to COVID-19, even if you have not been diagnosed or are not showing symptoms, please notify us as soon as possible so that we can make appropriate next steps and notify others.
We are monitoring the COVID-19 situation on a daily basis, including updates from the CDC, the Government of the District of Columbia (as well as Maryland and Virginia), and our event venues. We will notify you of any further cancellations or if the situation deteriorates enough to adjust our policy.
We simply don’t know how this situation will play out over the coming weeks and months. We will do our best to be as transparent and fair as possible, and we thank you so much for your flexibility and diligence. It is important to remain cautious and calm as we work together to weather this particular storm.
All the best,