COVID-19

Like many organizations, the Music Enrichment Program has faced many challenges and changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to provide opportunities for young musicians to participate in string ensembles in-person, we are taking measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
Please Click here to view our COVID Policies & Procedures

 

UPDATE – May 1st, 2021

It is with great sadness, that due to the restrictions and the extended suspension of in-person programming for youth, the Board has decided to cancel the remainder of the 2020/2021 MEP season. Although this is a huge disappointment for all of us, it was decided that it would be better to give our Members some certainty seeing as we cannot predict what the next two months will look like.

Looking Ahead
While we will not be holding rehearsals, there is still work to be done to prepare for the fall season! If you are available to volunteer this summer with fundraising and making community connections, being part of the board for next year, or would like to be part of a committee for planning/volunteer coordination/fundraising – please reach out!

The 2021 – 2022 Season
The online Registration Form will open on May 15th! We are actively planning to have two sessions of Thursday Orchestra as well as Singing Strings, and exploring the possibility of a beginner adult ensemble.
Early registration gives us the numbers required for planning, so we would appreciate hearing from you as soon as possible! We acknowledge that there is some uncertainty about what the fall will look like, as such we will not require payment at time of registration. Payment will be required on, or before, August 15th to secure your spot in the program.

 

We appreciate all the contributions from our Members during this very challenging year, and would like to acknowledge everyone’s efforts in helping with sanitizing, adhering to COVID protocols, submitting ideas for fundraising, being willing to stay on the volunteer list for bingo/casino dates even though they were continually delayed and rescheduled, and for sticking with the Program throughout all of this uncertainty.
Our Members patience, encouraging notes and commitment are so deeply appreciated.
Please stay safe, and we look forward to seeing everyone again in the fall!

Executive Board
Edmonton String Players Association

 


 

UPDATE – April 23rd, 2021

Edmonton Schools have moved all students in grades 7-12 to online classes for at least the next two weeks.
On the evening of April 22nd, we were advised that all extra-curricular performance activities for these students must also be suspended during this time;

"Extra-curricular performance activities are not permitted for grade 7 to 12 youth in the municipalities of Calgary and Fort McMurray, effective April 20, and the municipality of Edmonton, effective April 22. This includes home-schooled students.
These activities will be permitted again when in-person learning resumes."

While our Orchestras have many students in grades 4 to 6, there are also several in grades 7 to 12.
Because of this, there will be no rehearsals until at least May 6th.

In-person learning is expected to resume in schools on May 6, 2021.
We will notify you as soon as possible to let you know whether we will be able to resume, or if this suspension will be extended.

Executive Board
Edmonton String Players Association

 


 

UPDATE – March 10th, 2021

We were pleasantly surprised on Monday, March 8th, to receive an update from AHS saying that music performance groups can return to rehearsals. This was great news for the music community!
However, while we are now permitted to resume meeting as a group, there are additional restrictions we will need to follow:

      1. All persons in attendance must wear a mask at all times
      2. No more than 10 people in the room at one time, including instructors
      3. Distancing has been increased to three meters

Our conductors are discussing what our options are and how we can work with these restrictions to give our Student an opportunity to play as a group again. Once we know who is planning to attend, we will finalize a list of students. Because we are now so limited, we may need to temporarily change rehearsal times and/or locations – Members will receive these details as soon as possible. Please check your email for a response, and do not attend rehearsal if you have not yet received a confirmation of time and location.

Anyone who prefers to withdraw from the Program for the remainder of this season may do so and request a refund for the canceled weeks. Refunds may be donated to the program if you so wish, and tax receipts will be issued for the donated amounts.

Executive Board
Edmonton String Players Association

 


 

UPDATE – March 1st, 2021

Unfortunately, the Government of Alberta announced today that we will not be fully moving to Stage 2.

They have eased some restrictions on libraries, which is wonderful news, but they have pushed changes to children’s performance activities to Stage 3. Therefore, although we were hopeful, we are unable to resume rehearsals at this time. We are sorry that we do not have better news to share with you.

However, Premier Kenney did mention during the update that they may consider easing other restrictions before Stage 3 as long as COVID cases continue to decline. We will keep watching for updates and keep you informed!

In the meantime, please encourage your students to keep practicing, to stay in touch with their Conductors, and to explore new ideas for playing and sharing music. If they haven’t yet, maybe they would like to participate in online collaborations, share music with isolated seniors via Zoom/Skype, or put on balcony concerts for neighbors one of these warm afternoons?

Also, please be sure to check your emails regularly so you don’t miss any updates or announcements regarding Zoom meetings for students and/or Members!

We hope you and your family are safe and healthy,

Executive Board
Edmonton String Players Association

 


 

UPDATE – February 1st, 2021

COVID 19 – Restrictions
Unfortunately, it looks like we are still a few more weeks out from being able to resume rehearsals with our orchestra program. Based on what we know now, we expect to resume the week of March 1st. The most recent update from the province did, however, provide a framework for what they are planning. You can review it by clicking here.

On February 8th, the Province plans to move to Stage 1, which will allow a few changes for restaurants.
Three weeks later, they will consider moving to Stage 2, which will allow some children’s programming to resume.
We are waiting for clarification, but we believe that this stage will include programs like ours that don’t include singing or wind instruments.
Again the earliest we expect to get more details about resuming is the week of March 1st to 5th.

Between now and then, we will continue to send you updates via email, and we hope that your students will continue practicing and stay in contact with their conductors.

Spring Concert
Assuming restrictions continue to ease, we are planning to hold a spring concert at the end of May.
We’ll provide more details about that as soon as possible.

June Continuation
One decision the board has made is that we will add an extra month of rehearsals to our calendar – normally the program ends at the end of May, but since we haven’t been able to meet during January and won’t be able to meet in February, our conductors have committed to continuing to provide instruction through to the end of June.

Planning Committee
During this time, your Board is continuing to meet and to plan for the future of the Music Enrichment Program.
We would love to hear from you if you would like to be part of discussions about future programming and sustainability – please get in touch with our VP, Andrew Hoskins.

Grants
We would also appreciate hearing from you if you have ideas for arts and community grants that our program may be eligible for. As you know, we will not have a casino this year, so we are looking into options for funding to cover our program costs. We have stripped our operating costs to as low as possible but still need to cover some expenses.
Any assistance with Grant Writing would also be appreciated – please get in touch with our President, Karen Hipson.

Testimonials
Finally, if your student has benefited from the MEP program, would you be willing to provide a review or a testimonial?
We need some testimonials to help with grant writing as soon as possible!

Thank you for your continued support!

Executive Board
Edmonton String Players Association

 


 

UPDATE – January 23rd, 2021

In our last update, we were anticipating changes to the Provincial Restrictions to be announced during the January 21st COVID Update. As you may already know, no changes were made to the restrictions as Alberta still has the 2nd highest active case rate per capita in Canada.

Therefore, we are currently unable to resume Orchestra Rehearsals.
We will continue to monitor any changes to these restrictions as they are released, and commit to sending our Membership a weekly update with any pertinent information we receive.

Executive Board
Edmonton String Players Association

 


 

UPDATE – January 8th, 2021

Information released in the Provincial COVID update yesterday afternoon means that we cannot resume rehearsals on January 11th as we had originally planned:

"Alberta will not loosen its current COVID-19 restrictions on businesses until Jan. 21 at the earliest"

"Rehearsals, practices and lessons involving 2 or more are not permitted unless it is 1-to-1 with a coach or instructor."

We will continue to stay on top of changes as they occur and hope that rehearsals will be allowed to resume after January 21st.
Updates will be sent out to MEP Members via email as soon as possible.

Executive Board
Edmonton String Players Association

 


 

UPDATE – November 25th, 2020

As you may have heard, updates to the Provincial COVID Restrictions were announced on November 24th by Premier Kenney and Dr. Hinshaw. On November 25th our President, Karen Hipson, spoke directly with Alberta Health Services and was advised that while one-on-one private lessons may continue as scheduled, “group classes” does in fact include Youth and Adult String Program rehearsals, such as our own.

The updated restrictions take effect Friday, November 27th; however, out of an abundance of caution we have decided to suspend rehearsals effective immediately. Also, MEP Orchestras were originally scheduled to resume on January 4th, but have been adjusted to January 11th to align with the extended Winter Break for schools.

IMPORTANT: If a Student or Parent receives a positive COVID-19 test within 14 days of having been at one of our rehearsals, please remember to notify your Conductor.

We encourage all of our members to keep practicing during this break, and to share music with others in any way they can!
Please don’t take your instrument out in the cold, but consider doing a Zoom performance for your family, making a video recording to send to a resident of a seniors’ home, or doing a “live stream from home” concert on Facebook or YouTube. Or just record yourself practicing and send it to your Conductor – they’ll appreciate hearing from you!

We’d also like to thank the Parent Volunteers, Students, and Conductors for the time spent on sanitizing and planning safe rehearsals. Your efforts are greatly appreciated!

All the best and please stay safe,

Executive Board
Edmonton String Players Association