Coronavirus: Iowa college choir practices in empty pool

DECORAH, Iowa — For choir members at an Iowa college, the pool is the rule during the coronavirus pandemic.

Singers at Luther College, located in the northeastern part of the state, are using a large, empty pool to rehearse to ensure proper social distancing during the pandemic KCRG reported. That is a better option than choir members singing in a room with little ventilation.

“It’s a grand adventure,” according to the college’s music director.

“I was driving past the city pool trying to contemplate where we were going to rehearse outdoors,” Mark Potvin, instructor of music and conductor at Luther College, said in a news release. “I noticed they were draining the pool so I called our friends at Decorah Park and Rec and said ‘Hey, any chance that once that pool is empty we can start using it for choir rehearsals?’

"Without a second thought, they said, ‘Absolutely, no problem.’”

Luther College Norskkor in the Pool!

Have you ever sung in an empty pool? 🏊🤔 Our first-year choirs can check that off their bucket list during September Term! Today's times have brought about the need for innovation and adaptability, and music at Luther continues to safely rise to that call. Discover how Professor Mark Potvin '01 got the creative idea that led to choir rehearsals in the pool! #LutherCollege #MusicAtLuther #BeingCommunity

Posted by Luther College Music Department on Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Luther College, with one of the nation’s largest college music programs, has five choirs, KWWL reported -- Nordic Choir, Collegiate Chorale, Cathedral Choir, Aurora and Norskkor. Potvin has been utilizing precautions during the fall semester. Singers and conductors wear face coverings, the conductor wears a personal amplification device, and singers stand 7 1/2 to 12 feet apart in all directions, the television station reported.

“I had hoped they would keep the water in and let us tread water and sing,” first-year Norskkor member Tyler Buhr said. “But I thought it would be cool to have a bigger outdoor space to sing in. Haven’t had that experience before.

“It was certainly a unique solution to a unique problem.”

Several days a week, the voices of the Luther singers can be heard echoing off the walls of the Decorah Municipal Pool.

“It’s great. I mean there are challenges to singing outdoors, no doubt about it, but these singers really rose to that challenge and I think they are willing to roll with the punches and accept that this may not be normal," Potvin said in the release. “But it’s still gloriously fun to be together, singing in the community.”

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