COVID-19 response

Our Board of Directors’ COVID-19 response for the 2020–2021 season

Updated Aug 3, 2020

The Board of Directors recognizes our role in providing guidance and oversight as Ragazzi navigates the COVID-19 pandemic. We commend Ragazzi’s faculty and staff for their innovative response to this crisis, and for prioritizing the safety of our choristers, families, and audience. As we look forward to our 34th season, we have developed this framework to guide crucial decision-making.

Guiding principles
The following principles, in order of importance, will guide the Ragazzi Boys Choir during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. Above all, the safety and well-being of our singers, families, staff, and community is our primary concern
  2. We will continue to fulfill our mission of educating boys to perform choral music at the highest standards of excellence, instilling self-confidence, cooperation, leadership, sensitivity and tenacity, and building young men of character and distinction.
  3. The strategies we employ and decisions we make will ensure the success of the organization for years to come.

Principle 1: The safety and well-being of our singers, families, staff, and supporters
We will continue to follow expert scientific opinion in our decision-making, keeping in mind our choristers’ physical health and mental well-being. 

Phase 1 (current) — comprehensive remote learning: Ragazzi strives to be a leader in online choral instruction. Our current focus is upgrading our technology and training faculty to create the best remote learning experience. Plans include:

  1. Ample class time and instructor attention: During remote learning, boys will receive a similar amount of class time as when we meet physically. Classes will feature group instruction and supervised time to complete assignments. Multiple faculty and staff members will be available in every class.
  2. Enhanced learning goals: We’re expanding our instruction to include additional subjects that work well online, and which are tailored to meet the developmental needs of each ensemble. Class time will include choral arts (individual vocal development, ensemble singing, etc), musicianship (guided music theory lessons, proctored theory study hall, etc) notes from the field (music history and special guests, and community-building (activities that promote teamwork and individual growth)
  3. Advanced technology: Soundtrap (a collaborative online recording platform), Noteflight (an online music notation application), Google Classroom, and remote rehearsal consoles (experimental remote rehearsal technology that improves audio quality and reduces latency)
  4. Concerts and culminating projects: Each semester will conclude with a performance, whether physical or digital. We truly hope to perform in person, but safety is our highest priority. If a physical performance is not possible, we’ll produce professional-quality virtual choral projects for each level.

Phase 2 (prior to vaccine): Before a vaccine is available, will it be possible to have any in-person choral rehearsals? We hope so. But any type of physical events will require preventive measures, attention to detail, and creativity. Our goal is to provide an experience to our boys that is both safe and meaningful.

Phase 3 (post-vaccine): It will be a great joy to sing together regularly in person — plus, we’ll incorporate the best of our new technologies and innovations. We’ll continue to test and deploy the most promising new platforms even after we return to in-person rehearsals.

Principle 2: Continuing to fulfill our mission
We will continue to fulfill our mission of educating boys to perform choral music at the highest standards of excellence; instilling self-confidence, cooperation, leadership, sensitivity, and tenacity; and building young men of character and distinction

At the core of our program is the personal and social growth of our choristers. We know that isolation, uncertainty, and the loss of daily routine can lead to anxiety, depression, and loneliness in children. One of the best things we can do for kids is to keep a routine in place. It’s important for kids to remain connected to organizations like Ragazzi where they can connect with friends and find joy in making music together. This can help create structure, routine, bonding, and some semblance of normalcy. Ragazzi staff recognize our choristers’ emotional needs, and will creatively find ways to include opportunities for personal and social growth during remote programming.

Principle 3: Ensuring the success for the organization for years to come

Financial stability
Long-term financial sustainability is of utmost importance to the Ragazzi Board. We have secured an SBA PPA loan, and are currently looking for grants to help support our innovative online programs. We also understand many families are facing economic uncertainties. We are committed to assisting families in need through our Flexible Tuition Assistance Program.

Telling our story
We hope to be pioneers in a new model of choral education, providing inspiration and instruction to other choir programs. It is important that we continue to share our story and show how Ragazzi positively impacts the lives of boys. We will continue our advocacy to ensure that our story is told in a positive light, even in challenging circumstances. We will maintain a high degree of transparency with regard to decision-making, and prioritize our commitment to our boys, families, and staff.