Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

I recently returned to my local session after a long absence due to the pandemic. It’s been my choice to not play *earlier* because there was no vaccine and the health risk, transmission, fluctuations in local cases and unknowns about a novel virus it seemed best to be patient & wait for things to improve.

We all know what happened next. Different vaccines were available and everyone in my local session got jabbed. New cases were decreasing, guidelines and gatherings were becoming less restrictive and I went to my local session. Great! Right?

Not exactly. The all clear sign was temporary. I think everyone on the board knows by now the virus is still with us and it’s making me want to find a way to resolve the uncertainty I’m feeling about doing what we all want to do; play tunes with other people in person and live to play another day.

I always say, "Health to the company!" This one has no easy answer. But this music has faced tough situations before. My local session has lost 4 members (pre-covid) in 20+ years. I trust we are resilient enough to keep playing into the future. I’m learning to not take anything for granted.

I don’t know a damn thing about the future. Right now I would appreciate hearing how everyone is coping in your local session. Zooming, smaller sessions, playing outdoors, etc. I’m a survivor. Remarkably I’m coping very well and my love for Irish music gets better everyday. How about you?

Thanks in advance,
AB

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Re: Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

I just came back from a session at one of our member’s house. We played outdoors. We are all vaxed, but most are afraid of transmitting to small children and aging parents, so we have no plans to return to the pub right now. We will be at a different house in two weeks. Works for me.

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Re: Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

Have been playing outdoors off an on for the last year and a bit. Last week one of us pinged that his wife (a doctor and double-vaxxed in the first roll out) and his little daughter had tested positive. We are a group of 5 with teacher amongst us, so nobody has said anything since then about playing. All double vaxxed and I am the eldest at 53 but holding our breath. But has to be outdoors for the foreseeable - have photos (outdoors) from mid-Dec last year to prove our insanity.

Re: Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

I’ve only attended one open session in a semi-public venue a couple of months ago, back before the Delta variant was spreading, and it seemed like being vaccinated was enough for things to get back to normal. Not any more.

What I’ve done along with my fiddler S.O. is invite friends to our home for playing tunes; people we have known for a long time and can trust they’re vaccinated and being careful. So far, we’ve had three mini kitchen sessions. Either just one friend, or a small group like last time resulting in two fiddles, one guitar, and me on flute or mandolin. Indoors, no masks because we’re a trusted "pod" of vaccinated people.

My S.O. and I aren’t planning to move out into the wider world of public sessions with people whose vax status I don’t know until Delta fades. Or until we can get booster shots, maybe. We’ll just do these little kitchen sessions to stay sane.

Re: Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

We restarted our in-pub session in mid-May, but put it on hold after the Delta variant started taking off and one of our players had a breakthrough infection.

We’ve moved the session outdoors to a local park for the for at least a few months. Summer evenings in San Diego are lovely, so we should be able to keep doing this at least until early fall. At that time, we’ll have to decide based on the Delta situation whether to go back playing indoors.

Re: Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

Have been to a several outdoor sessions, all people who already knew one another. A couple of kitchen sessions with people who I have played at sessions with for years - six people maximum, well spread out, windows and door open, all vaccinated, lateral flow tested on the day or just before.

No-one has expressed concerns about the flute, but all wind players have asked if folk were happy about them playing and have been staying downwind/downdraft. Laughter and animated conversation round a table would bother me more. Have no intention of going closer to a pub than the garden.

In the UK cases of Delta seem to have levelled off, for now, and incidence is lower in us older folk. Most people seem to know someone local to them infected after being double vaccinated; my neighbour still gets out of breath easily a month later. I’m thinking of how to work sessions into my ‘risk budget’ for the autumn. My winter coughs and colds were often after going to a session, on public transport.

Re: Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

Some local musicians have gone back to playing in a local pub. I’ve only played outside in patios or on porches with a few other musicians. Not sure what will happen when the weather turns cold. One of our number died of Covid before vaccines were available. Right now case numbers seem to be going back up and there is talk of a 4th wave, but the incidence is low so far and 80% of the population in the city where I live have been vaccinated. This is in Ontario, Canada.

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Re: Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

Hello! I have so much gratitude for everyone who has responded. Good to hear from each & everyone.
Wow, Chet, 80% vaccinated. How’d that happen? Butte Co., CA is 1/2 that many.
Good health & tunes, that’s my goal.

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Re: Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

Any playing in the company of other people so far has been with known friends rather than just whoever turns up, and most have been out of doors: yes, even with our notorious Scottish weather! With the exception of one mini-concert last Sunday, also in the open air and socially distanced, any sessions or rehearsals have all been in friends’ houses or gardens. We are all double vaccinated, but mostly of “a certain age”, and with several of us, or our family members, with health problems, so we are remaining pretty cautious about mixing with unknown company. There are flautists among our players, and they are most conscious of the supposed risks of wind instruments and the first to ask if others are happy to play along with them.
And having looked into the logistics around returning to our past regular rehearsal hall, there is a huge list of conditions and regulations imposed, which makes it more attractive to continue in our own houses at least pro tem.

Re: Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

Cheers, Trish! What I would give for a bit of notorious Scottish weather right now. ;

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Re: Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

I was actually relieved to hear that the annual KVMR radio fundraising festival in AB’s neighborhood was cancelled this fall. There are too many unvaccinated scofflaws in that part of the Sierra Nevada foothills for me to take the risk of sitting in, even outdoors.

Re: Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

I’m happy for you.

Ben

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Re: Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

EVERY person who doesn’t live in complete isolation on a mountain Tipp will get into cot act with Covid over the next year or so.
You, me, everyone. At least in the US and Europe everybody has had the chance for a vaccine by now. So for what are you waiting? In 2 years Covid will still be among us, probably in 5 years also.
I don’t understand what the long term plan is if you want to prevent Covid spread at a session. You all and EVERYBODY you know will get into contact with the virus over the next years. It doesn’t matter if you only paly outside now, stop going to sessions or prevent wind instrument from playing tunes with you. You all will get Covid and because of the vaccine it won’t matter.
So get your (hopefully mrna) shot and live your life.

Re: Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

I’d rather get it later than sooner when the vaccines and treatments are even more effective.
Somehow, I managed to avoid getting chicken pox until I was 58.
So, if we can still keep the cases down to a manageable level, that’s not a bad thing surely?

Re: Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

While I can chose between the risk of getting a face-full from someone talking over the din of the pub and picking up a few aerosol particles that have been floating around outdoors and moving towards their best-before date I’ll go for the latter.

Re: Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

"You, me, everyone. At least in the US and Europe everybody has had the chance for a vaccine by now."
I take your point, David. However; I think every grandparent knows this is not true for children under 12 years old. I know of infected children where I live, including one who just turned 12 & could not get vaccinated before he was infected. Tested negative twice, third test was positive. He was right on the cusp. It’s hard on him and on his grandparents.
I’m fully vaccinated but I’m doing my best not to become infected (even asymptomatically) because I don’t want to transmit the virus to anyone. If that were to happen now it would likely be the Delta variant which is more transmissible due to it’s mutations.

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Re: Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

"I’d rather get it later than sooner when the vaccines and treatments are even more effective."
By later, Johnny Jay, are you thinking a matter of weeks or actually sometime after the new year, give or take a few bits? If you’re waiting for *the most effective vaccine* you might as well get what you can while you’re still around.
Not saying you need to rush getting the vaccine. I held out for the Johnson & Johnson myself. But I think my reasoning has merit.
Take care,
Ben

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Re: Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

Ben,

Sorry, you misunderstood. I now realise my comment may have been a little vague.

I actually meant that *IF* I was going to get infected by the actual virus, as David suggests I surely will some day, I’d rather that it was later than sooner. Of course, I don’t want it at all.
Hopefully, its effects will be even less then after new vaccines have been introduced and treatments in general have improved.

I’ve already been "double jabbed" and will accept a booster, if offered, in the next few months. I still want to be careful though.

Re: Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

Early in the pandemic I started using Jamkazam and Sonobus to play online, with people around central NY state, Boston, NJ, Providence RI. After we got vaccinated I started visiting with a small group of friends where we’d sleep over and play tons of music -we’re all retired. I’d been playing with a couple of them online throughout the pandemic. The folks I’ve been playing with online don’t want to stop doing that - it’s been immensely satisfying. I’m going to have to really want to be at an in-person session to take on the risk and the travel.

Re: Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

We restarted our weekly session in the spring, but on a different day of the week (Saturdays), during the afternoon (instead of evening), and outdoors at the pub - sitting in an area that used to be parking spaces, but is now protected by concrete barriers. Our participants are 100% vaccinated, but even when things looked promising, only about half of them would have been willing to play indoors. That percentage has no doubt shrunk in the past few weeks as local infection rates have begun to rise again. Fortunately, hospitalizations in our county have remained pretty low (8-9 people every three weeks).

It has been SO MUCH FUN to play tunes and socialize once again, even if we did get a little damp a couple of times. We had four wind players yesterday and three string players, but the air moves pretty constantly on that street so we’re pretty comfortable. The wind players are sort like wind-socks: every time the wind starts to come from a different direction they all rotate to avoid having it interfere with their playing. Not as challenging as trying to play above the Cliffs of Moher, and nothing a pint won’t cure.

We’ll see what happens as the summer winds down and school starts up, and are taking things week by week.

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Re: Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

Cheers, Johnny Jay. Thank you for replying. My inference was off and I’m happy to hear you are being as safe as I thought you were throughout this pandemic. I apologise for my lapse.

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Re: Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

Thanks, Ben. "Nae problem" as we say here.
🙂

Re: Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

I’ll pass on even a "mild" infection. Even people with mild infections can have long-term or lifelong issues— case in point: my friend who had a mild case and is now, months later, still using a nebulizer and has a hard time doing anything that gets her breathing hard— no idea if this will ever end for her. No thanks— I have too much life to live (and too many years left) to spend it avoiding physical activity. (Never mind the people with "mild" cases who have suffered strokes, organ damage, etc.— my friend got off lightly.) I also imagine that even a mild case can cause an immune overreaction and with a strong family history of autoimmune disorders, I’ll say "no thanks" to that, too.

Not everyone who doesn’t die is A-OK. I’m not sure why, a year and a half in, people still don’t seem to grasp this.

Re: Playing sessions with my flute at this time and keeping everyone safe.

I haven’t been attending ITM sessions but for about three years I’ve been the whistle guy in a fiddle/guitar old time instrumental jam group in Pinellas County Florida. We usually play outdoors except in the four summer months when we play indoors. Now the masks are back on, and we’ve disinvited anyone who isn’t vaccinated. So now I’m playing mandolin and guitar with the group. Of course I keep practicing the whistle and flute at home.