COVID-19 information for the Northern Beaches Concert Band

Last significant update 10th February 2022

Due to the lockdown which started on 26th June 2021 and which was extended into December, band rehearsals were put on hold, with only five rehearsals possible prior to the end of the 2021 school year, and those at a different venue.

Most performances in 2021 were also cancelled.

The band was able to resume rehearsals at a temporary location and was back at Pittwater High School from 16th February 2022.

It is a condition of our use of the school's rehearsal room that all adults onsite must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  This is likely to be an ongoing requirement and should be considered a prerequisite for prospective members of the band.

The government has a Roadmap to freedom that lists the various stages of the next few months.  The ABC has an article on it here.  There is also a succinct diagram from the Financial Review that can be found here.  Note that the information is somewhat out of date, but it is still informative.

Rehearsals resume
Rehearsals recommenced on Wednesday 18th November 2020

2022 rehearsals

Rehearsals started Wednesday 2nd February 2022 at Newport, and back at the school from 16th February.

Note that any adults on school grounds must be fully vaccinated, and must check in using the QR code or the manual check-in sheet.  This is school policy.  (Current health regulations do not count booster shots as part of "fully vaccinated".  However, it is rumoured that the definition might change shortly, and the school policy could change to suit.)

The rehearsal space at Pittwater High School is just big enough to allow for the expanded social distancing required for the complete band. Social distancing needs to be carefully monitored.

Note that some things need to change in order for us to follow a sensible COVID action plan.  This list will be updated as necessary:

  • Members must not come to rehearsal if they have experienced any recent symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, fever, runny nose, loss of smell or taste).  Ring your section leader or a committee member so we know you won't be coming.
  • If you or any of your close family members are at elevated risk of viral infection (weakened immune system, ongoing medical condition, elderly), or if you are unvaccinated, you need to consider whether it is appropriate for you to attend rehearsals.  Indeed, if you are not confident about returning yet, then you should stay away for the time being.
  • If you have had a COVID test where the results have not come back before rehearsal, please contact the Secretary by phone or SMS urgently to discuss whether we need to warn the other members.  The Secretary's phone number is at the bottom of this page.  You must not attend rehearsal if you are awaiting a COVID test result.
  • All members present must use the displayed QR code to record their attendance via the Service NSW app or the Service NSW website.  If you can't do this, please fill in the form which will be located at the check-in table.  Confused?  Click here
  • Music is not to be shared - everyone will need to bring their own copy.
  • Everyone must bring their own pencils and avoid sharing with other members..
  • Members must bring a towel or similar to collect condensation from their instruments, and take it home for appropriate disposal or disinfection.
  • Please bring your own water and do not rely on school water facilities.
  • Hand sanitizer will be provided and all members should use it.
  • Gloves and sanitizing wipes will be provided for people handling communal equipment or furniture.
  • Sanitizing wipes will also be provided so that people can wipe their chairs and any other communal items.
  • The 2 square metre rule will apply to all members with the exception of flutes and conductor, who will each have a distance of 3 metres in front of them.  The 1.5 metre spacing rule will also be observed.
  • All members should depart promptly at the end of rehearsal and not congregate for conversation.
  • Avoid carpooling with non-household people.

A COVID-19 Safety Plan has been completed based on the template provided by NSW Health.  It has recently been updated and can be downloaded here.  The previous version can be downloaded here.  The band has registered as a COVID Safe business, and QR code check-in to Service NSW is now in use.

The website will also be updated as more information becomes available.

The NSW Government announced an "Arts Rescue and Restart Package" which provides one-off grants of $5,000 to community organisations such as NBCB.  We applied for a grant, and will use this to offset the extra costs associated with COVID restrictions - e.g. insurance premiums that need to be paid even when we are not rehearsing.  (The band has now received its grant.)

Sarah has produced a practice priority list which has been e-mailed to all band members.  If you didn't receive an e-mail, get in touch with Dave S and he'll send you another copy.  This information has been updated into the website 2022 music page.

Also note the "Listen" buttons on the 2022 music page for YouTube versions of many of our pieces to play along with at home.

Confused about using a QR code?  Check here

Most people these days have smartphones, and the overwhelming majority of these are Apple phones or Android phones.  The easiest way to do a COVID check-in is to use the Service NSW app on the phone.  As long as your phone is moderately recent and has access to the Internet, this should work for you.

In most cases, all you need to do is to open the camera app on the phone and aim it at the QR code on the check-in poster.  (Do not take a photo, though.)  Your phone should recognise that it's looking at a QR code and offer a link to Service NSW.  If you follow that link it will open the Service NSW app and take you to the check-in page for the place you're entering.

If you don't have the Service NSW app installed on your phone, it will open the check-in web page instead.  This will offer buttons to install the Service NSW app for Apple and Android phones.  It will also offer a red button entitled "Webform".  If you use this button, it will take you to the browser and allow you to check in from there.

What if the camera app doesn't bring up a link to Service NSW?  (This probably means you have an older phone.)  There are a couple of things you can do:

  • If you have the Service NSW app installed, then open it and select "COVID Safe Check-in".  This will take the phone into camera mode and you simply need to aim it at the QR code.  The app will then prompt you through the rest of the check-in.
  • If you don't have or don't want the Service NSW app installed, then install a QR code reader app on your phone.  There are plenty of these available as freeware.  If you start this app and aim it at the QR code, it should pop up a link that will bring up the Service NSW check-in web page in the browser.

If you have further questions, feel free to conatct the Secretary by e-mail for help (see the link at the bottom of the page).

Diversions for when you're bored

Other diversions that have been circulated previously

Any favourites or other things you'd like featured ... send Dave S an e-mail.

Note that the latest updates are in blue.

Results of the September 2020 survey

The purpose of the September survey was to canvass the feelings about a 2020 Christmas party.  Results (30) are summarised below.

Q1  Interested in a gathering?
             Result: 93% in favour (28:2)

Q2  Outdoors (Winnermerrey) or indoors (BYRA)?
             Result: 65% in favour of outdoors (19:10)

Q3  Either day or Wed or Sun?
             Result: 53% for either day plus a very slight leaning to Wed (16:8:6)

Q4  Wed outdoors (1730-2230) or indoors (1900-2300)?
             Result: 56% for 1730-2230 (18:14)

Q5  Sun outdoors (1400-1800) or outdoors (1730-2230)?
             Result: 77% for 1400-1800 (24:7)

Q6  Wed date preferences?
             Result: Any date: 21; next most popular: 2nd Dec: 6

Q7  Sun date preferences?
             Result: Any date: 20; next most popular: 13th Dec: 6

Q8  Wear a mask?
             Result: 87% "yes" (26:4)

Bringing a partner?  11 extra guests.

Thanks for all the responses.  Now it's over to the President.  A contingency date will be chosen as well, in case the scheduled date is rained out.

Results of the July 2020 survey

The final results of the survey, as at the end of July: we had 35 responses, which constitutes a good proportion of our membership.  Answers to the specific questions are below, and some of the free-form responses are summarised.

Q1  Restart rehearsals in Term 4 2020 or in Term 1 2021?
             Result: 71% in favour of Term 4 (25:10)

Q2  Possibility of limited (maximum 10) ensembles?
             Result: 69% in favour (24:11)

Q3  Extend the committee's term until the AGM which will be held when we resume rehearsals?
             Result: 100% in favour (35:0)

Some of the free-form responses:

"My personal opinion is we don’t want to risk any spread.  Let’s just wait until NSW has a handle on community transmission before we get together.  Even if we write off 2020 completely it doesn’t really matter.  There will be no performances for a while."

"My [relative] did a virtual band performance.  Everyone recorded their part on video and then some tech magic happened and it was all put together.  We could do it too.  If Sarah picks a piece and also a YouTube performance of it to follow for timing we could all record our part listening to the YouTube on earphones.  Someone must have time and tech skills to put it together.  Could give us something to work towards.  So I think we try that and wait till NSW has very low community transmission again before meeting."

Webmaster comment: This would require someone with the free time and tech skills (and enthusiasm) to organise and edit the multiple video recordings.  Any volunteers?

"Can we assume that there will be no outdoor gigs (e.g. Narrabeen markets) this year?  On that same thought medical experts are suggesting that most transmission occurs indoors, so is there anywhere outdoors where we might rehearse given appropriate day, time and weather?"

Webmaster comment: The performances in Term 3 are definitely cancelled.  The Narrabeen Christmas Markets are scheduled for 5th December, so are still a possibility.  Obviously, our participation would also rely on our getting back to full rehearsals a reasonable time before that date.

"I would be happy to rotate every second week if that helps."

Webmaster comment: This is an interesting suggestion and one that the committee will keep in mind.

"We should be keeping a close watch on the situation in Sydney and Victoria before any decision is made."

Webmaster comment: Our focus is probably more on Sydney, but I'm sure we're all watching Victoria's problems with a good deal of apprehension.  We're by no means immune from similar problems.  Seeing we rehearse at a school facility, we are following especially the advice issued by the government for schools, although we are also keeping an eye out for non-school alternatives.

"Looking forward to some kind of rehearsals to resume.  Thinking of our normal rehearsal space, maybe each major section could take turns rehearsing with percussion.  Alternatively, am thinking the hall at Avalon Primary is a bigger space?  Just thinking of ideas."

Webmaster comment: The idea of rotating the sections does bear consideration.  We will remember it once the situation with non-curriculum groups is eased, or we make arrangements with a non-school facility.  Unfortunately, the hall at Avalon Primary isn't going to be available at this time, due to government restrictions.

"Wait and see approach as VIC spreads to NSW."

Webmaster comment: As it stands (late September) we appear to have dodged that potential bullet, and borders are starting slowly to reopen.

"Just that I'm due in September so realistically I probably couldn't return until mid way through term 4."

Webmaster comment: And a wonderful note on which to end this results section.  Our very best wishes to you and your family, Marina.  ❤️

New members always welcome

Our committee remains active during pandemic lockdowns and you are welcome to use the contact information at the bottom of the page to get in touch with the secretary and enquire about joining.  See the home page and the Rehearsals page for more information.  Get in touch now and we'll contact you to see if we're right for your current playing level, and we can put you on our members' e-mail list, so you'll keep up to date.

Note that you must be fully COVID-19 vaccinated to join the band.


For more information, contact David Smart (Secretary) by or phone