Beaumont carolers perform masked, distanced outdoors at care home facing COVID-19 outbreak

An Alberta choir has found a way to keep singing during the pandemic, to bring some cheer to those who are most isolated.

“Somebody posted on a community Facebook page that they had a parent [at Chateau Vitaline], and there’s an outbreak here, and the parent was just feeling very lonely and isolated,” said Beaumont Songbirds director, Delaura Talbert.

A COVID-19 outbreak was declared at Covenant Care Chateau Vitaline by Alberta Health on Nov. 3. In its latest public update related to the outbreak, Covenant Health said that a total of 11 residents have died from the virus.

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While Talbert knew she wanted to cheer up the residents, she also knew there were strict rules when it comes to group singing.

So she asked the Beaumont care home if the choir could come share some festive music with its residents — from the safety of outside.

“Christmas is nostalgic and Christmas feels like home,” Talbert said.

“If we can bring some joy to these people, then mission accomplished.”

Read more: Edmonton senior brings joy to others during pandemic with her artistic touch

Talbert and her choir — the Beaumont Songbirds — sing outside in groups of ten, physically distanced, with masks on.

The care home gets a heads up before they come down and residents open their windows and listen from inside.

What the choir is doing is allowed according to provincial guidelines around performance activities in an outdoor setting.

Under those provincial rules for enhanced areas like Edmonton zone, no more than 10 people can participate, physical distancing rules must be followed and no audiences are allowed.

“We really just went through the list of requirements for singing and just made sure we checked all of them,” Talbert explained.

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“One of the biggest requirements we heard back from AHS is under no circumstances do they want anyone gathering anywhere near us — and we don’t want that either.”

Another choir member, Ashley Roberie, said the group is taking the rules “very seriously.”

“We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t safe,” Roberie said. “This is where we used to have our rehearsals, so it’s nice because these people know our voices and we know them.”

Read more: Christmas music and COVID-19: How to adapt when group singing isn’t safe

The group plans on only caroling at Chateau Vitaline for now, but Talbert added she has also reached out to other care homes.

She also admits there has been some negativity surrounding the initiative on social media and many people have gotten the wrong idea about what they are doing.

“When people hear caroling they think going door to door — of course no one wants to do that — I wouldn’t open the door to someone coming to sing at my door right now,” Talbert said.

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Global News reached out to Chateau Vitaline and a spokesperson said the caroling was “well received” with the residents.

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