Conservatory’s Church Music Department: Paris Churches violating COVID-19 guidelines

I don’t think this is an isolated incident/scene at all. I suspect this is happening at most, if not all, churches in Paris. Why wouldn’t it be? So it’s no wonder that their coronavirus infection rate in Paris is soaring! 20,000+ new coronavirus infections throughout France per day as of this writing.

Hola a todos. Some of the Conservatory students in the Church Music programme brought this to my attention. They are rightly concerned about their future as church musicians, as well as their own health.

I was a little surprised to see a packed Nave with people standing right next to each other (no distancing what-so-ever), and a tightly-packed procession — with at least one priest (over 60 years of age) in procession without a face mask on and some of the congregation wearing their face mask below their nose (you can’t fix stupid) — as the COVID-19 infection rate is soaring in the French capital. Is the French Minister of Health in Paris not aware of this? Churches have been open in France since May 2020 after they sued the French government about the ban on churches being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their health guidelines are similar to the guidelines in the non-United States. Face masks are required as well as social-distancing (which was clearly being violated in the church we saw near Notre-Dame de Paris), although the video shows that some priests, none of the choristers and some of the congregation couldn’t care less about being infected with COVID. Their thinking seems to be the same as The Village Idiot/International Thug/Bully here in the non-United States.

To begin with, singing is one of the main carriers of coronavirus, so singing should not be allowed. Or, they should wear face masks as the stellar Collegium 1704 Vocale did recently for one of their performances in the Czech Republic as you can see in this performance:

In Paris, in churches they are supposed to be distanced 0.9144metres/3 feet apart. In the non-United States it’s double that or 6 feet. I guess some of the priests think that the Floating Cloud Being will protect them, but Mr Floating Cloud Being hasn’t protected others just like them, so what makes these priests think they’re so special? Or, do they too think it’s all a hoax. Other people who have thought that found themselves on a ventilator and saying, “I should have taken this more seriously.” Oh really? The celebrant priest in the video I watched — he was in the senior age category — took off his mask as soon as he got to the free-standing altar inside the Sanctuary area, and then he kissed the altar with his bare lips. The other priests kissed the altar while wearing their face masks. Then, other priests — some of whom I recognised from Notre-Dame de Paris — removed their masks and stood behind him. The Millennial-aged mask-less choristers (roughly 8-10 of them) sang in a semi-circle not distanced in the Choir area. I assume they think they’re invincible, as many Millennials do.

Is Olivier Véran, the French Minister of Health not aware of this church — and probably others; I doubt this is an isolated incident — violating the health guidelines he set forth? Or, is it because (temporarily closed) La Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris is sharing this particular church for their liturgies? The guidelines don’t apply to them because of their clout in the French capital?

I wrote a comment about this under the video of one of their liturgies and I was met with the same type of response as The Village Idiot would give. Utterly dismissive. The person asked me if I were Catholic and how the Messe/Mass in the Catholic Church is “an essential service.” (Meaning an “essential service” like food or water). Insanity. The church must provide these liturgies, he told me. So this person obviously doesn’t care how many people get infected because the church is “an essential service.” The thing is: There are thousands of videos on KTO-TV’s site from the past. If it’s “essential” to have a liturgy, watch the videos from the past following the Liturgical Year. As of this writing, we have just passed the Eighteenth Sunday of Pentecost, so find that video from 2019 or before and start there. One could probably spend a number of years doing just that online and that should fulfill one’s “essential service” for a liturgy. And that’s just on KTO’s website. You can watch the ones from Notre Dame before that closed due to the fire. There are hundreds/thousands of other liturgies from both the Roman Catholic and Anglican Communion parishes and cathedral churches that one can watch to fulfill one’s “essential service” requirement. Then the commenter put out some disinformation about COVID-19. He minimised it and how “it’s no big deal; no worse than the flu. I’ve known some people who have had it and they said it was no big deal.” Yeah right. Then, he went on to ask why I was there and made baseless assumptions about my being “in academia” and how I was a “left tool” and promoting “secular” values which he said he had come to expect “from you guys in academia.” Of course he made all that up because I said nothing about myself in my comment; I gave no personal information. He was just baiting me like the typical troll. So in other words, I was heavily trolled just because I questioned why the churches in Paris are allowed to be packed with people and not following the health guidelines set forth by the French government.

The church cultists and much of the classical music audience are of the same mindset. They’re one-in-the-same in some ways. Both conservative, usually knowing little or nothing about music. Nor do they care about music. Although with my experience with (Roman) Catholics, they have absolutely no respect for the music or the musicians involved in their liturgies. To them, it’s all about “the spoken word.” An example: KTO-TV routinely never began recording the organ improvisation at Notre-Dame from the beginning. Their organists were three renowned organists that KTO was disrespecting. But they didn’t care! KTO-TV also stopped recording the organ voluntary during the recessional before the organist had completed his improvisation. Extremely rude and disrespectful. Even though many viewers complained about this disrespect for the music at Notre-Dame over the years, KTO-TV ignored all such comments. I remember when one viewer wrote that he was in the Nave for a particular Messe and heard the organ voluntary — which he thought was spectacular — and wanted to hear it again, so he went to KTO-TV’s website to hear it in the video. He was disgusted when he realised it wasn’t there in its entirety. Only a part of it. He was really angry about that. Understandably so.

I’ve seen some orchestras in the EU performing without masks although they were distanced. The string musicians can all wear masks, but were not. The winds were distanced but how careful is the stage crew when cleaning up and dealing with the chairs, desks (music stands) and production wiring after the performance and the air aspirations and water droplets particularly from the winds and brass? Even if the musicians had all recently tested negative, any of them could have become infected on their way to the Concert Hall. The conductor came out and walked to the podium with a mask on then oddly removed his mask in order to conduct. Why remove the mask to conduct with all musicians facing you in your direction? All commenters except two were praising their performance and thanking them with no thought what-so-ever about the pandemic currently in its second wave in the EU. I and another person were the only two people to question orchestral management’s rush to have the orchestra perform even in a reduced size. Is a musician’s life worth it? They don’t value their musicians more than that that they’re willing to take the chance? Chau.—el barrio rosa