UK choir refuses to take first place US orchestra demands COVID masks for Beethoven concert

Performances of “Ode to Joy” have been canceled after a Scottish choir refused an American orchestra’s request to wear a mask while singing.

The 130-person Edinburgh Festival Choir was scheduled to perform Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Edinburgh International Festival on 25 August.

mask while singing

But the choir rejected the US orchestra’s call to wear masks during the chorus and canceled the event. Since April, people in Scotland are no longer legally required to wear face coverings.

The festival has described this year’s residency, the Philadelphia Orchestra, as one of “America’s most accomplished orchestras” and is looking forward to a performance of “Ode to Joy” as one of the top events at Usher Hall. rice field.

The Edinburgh International Festival “joins the full force of the Edinburgh Festival Choir with a quartet of outstanding international vocal soloists, and the Philadelphia Orchestra and Nezet-S├ęguin begin their residency with the symphony that ends all symphonies.” I wrote.

“With its wit, drama and visionary Ode to Joy, Beethoven’s Ninth is a joyous hymn to friendship and goodwill, and an anthem for all mankind,” it added. I was.

according to Classical Music News Site Slipped Discthe loss of one of its highlights surprised Edinburgh.

A festival spokesperson said: Telegraph The Philadelphia Orchestra’s protocol is “different from current British guidance”.

A spokesman for the Philadelphia Orchestra told the magazine that the decision to cancel the performance was “not taken lightly” and that the masked choir “did its best for their health and safety”. .

“We understand that Scotland’s COVID protocols are different than ours, but we felt this precaution was especially important during the first stages of a long and complicated tour. We have shown that singing causes the spread of aerosols to be significantly wider and farther than speaking, and that masks reduce this aerosol spread, thus dramatically reducing risk.

The Epoch Times reports on a study that showed mask mandates were not associated with lower COVID-19 case or infection rates.

On Tuesday, an oversight group called the Functional Government Initiative (FGI) announced it had sued the Biden administration for refusing to provide information about research into the effectiveness of cloth masks.

“Americans deserve to know how long HHS will last. [U.S. Department of Health & Human Services] FGI spokesman Pete McGinnis reviewed research before making mandated mask recommendations and asked why cloth masks continue to be promoted after learning they don’t help stop the spread of COVID-19. I wonder if I was sitting on this data. .

The Epoch Times reached out to the Edinburgh Festival Chorus and the Philadelphia Orchestra for comment.

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

Owen Evans


Owen Evans is a UK-based journalist with a particular interest in civil liberties and free speech, covering a wide range of national stories.