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Young@Heart postpones first live concert in two years, as several singers test positive for COVID

Young@Heart Chorus at the NEPR Arts and Humanities Awards
Screen Shot / Jill Kaufman
The Young@Heart chorus, in a rehearsal in the spring of 2020, from their homes in western Massachusetts.

A concert scheduled for this weekend in Northampton, Massachusetts, from a chorus made up of elderly singers, has been canceled due to several cases of COVID.

Young@Heartis internationally known for performing music not commonly sung by people their age, including covers of songs from David Bowie, Gloria Gaynor and The Clash.

Saturday night’s scheduled performance at the Academy of Music was already a rescheduled event, postponed since 2020, said Bob Cilman, Young@Heart’s manager and conductor.

“This time we felt, 'Oh, you know, we're there, we're one week away!''” Cilman said.

Cilman said the group has been rehearsing together, with masks on, since February. The news that three singers tested positive for COVID came in over the weekend and earlier this week.

Cilman said it’s unlikely it spread in rehearsals.

Members of the chorus met on Zoom and agreed to postpone the concert. With this variant of the virus spreading so easily, Cilman said it was a unanimous decision.

“We now have seven people in their 90s, so we're incredibly careful about the situations we're willing to put them in,” Cilman said.

The concert has been rescheduled for June 9. They'll wait and see, Cilman said, if the chorus will sing with masks.

Jill Kaufman has been a reporter and host at NEPM since 2005. Before that she spent 10 years at WBUR in Boston, producing "The Connection" with Christopher Lydon and on "Morning Edition" reporting and hosting. She's also hosted NHPR's daily talk show "The Exhange" and was an editor at PRX's "The World."
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