We have been getting so many requests for information about how and if the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic will affect the 2020 Texas Normal Singing School. Although many other beloved annual events have been canceled this season, we’re pleased to announce that Singing School is still on for our original dates of July 26-31 in Abilene, Texas.
The Board of Directors has been engaged in much prayer, deliberation, and the seeking of counsel from civil and medical authorities in coming to this decision. Our priorities have always been that our actions honor the Lord and serve the worldwide church, while protecting our students, staff, and faculty.
Our decision to continue with plans for TNSS 2020 are contingent upon continued progress of the State of Texas through the official phases of reopening as determined by the administration of Governor Greg Abbott in conjunction with federal guidelines as issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On May 1, Texas entered into Phase One of the Open Texas procedure. Based on official data from the county and state-level, Phase Two began on May 18, and Phase Three on June 12. Each stage runs for approximately two weeks to allow for sufficient time to see if the enacted social changes continue to support positive public health goals. If Texas remains solidly into Phase Three, we will consider that our final “green light” to hold the school. At this point, data-based evidence looks promising. However, should the State of Texas – or specifically Taylor County (Abilene) – regress back to Phases Two or One, we will have to cancel for health’s sake.
We know there are concerns about social distancing practices, wearing masks, and deep cleaning and disinfecting efforts for our school. By Phase Three – and especially a month into Phase Three – extreme masking and social distancing will no longer be mandates as they have been. Churches will have resumed services, the virus’ curve will have been flattened, and more typical activities will have resumed. Be assured, we will not be holding the Singing School if it jeopardizes the health of our student body or faculty and staff, nor if the federal- and state-level regulations continue to be restrictively austere. Unless we can safely and within the spirit of the law conduct the Singing School in a more-or-less typical fashion, we will not be having it.
TNSS cannot operate without five essential components: classroom facilities, lodging, food service, our faculty and staff, and our student body. If any one of those factors becomes undependable, the school is at risk of not happening. We’re trying to adapt where change is necessary and we’re thankful for our partners who are making this possible.
We received notice that, due to the Coronavirus, the administration of Abilene Christian University has closed the campus until the fall semester of 2020. Understandably, our reservation was canceled along with all other summertime activities on campus. The Oldham Lane Church of Christ has graciously, hospitably agreed to host our classroom campus for 2020.
As of June 3, we were informed that the University Park Apartments would not be able to house us this year. We have negotiated with the Whitten Inn for double-occupancy rooms. As this is a full-service hotel, bed linens (sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, etc.) and basic room amenities (trash cans, shower curtains, etc.) will be provided – as is the norm in hotels. These items were not provided by the UPA, but will be included this year. There is no need to make separate reservations – your housing reservation must be made under the Singing School’s contract with Whitten Inn in order to qualify for special pricing (in other words, we’ll take care of it with your Singing School registration and non-refundable housing deposit).
The ACU cafeteria, like the rest of the campus, will be closed. Chartwells, the vendor which runs the cafeteria, has been very accommodating and has offered to prepare and cater lunch meals just for us at the Oldham Lane facility.
TNSS will provide a continental breakfast Monday – Friday mornings; a full, hot lunch (entree, sides, salad, drink) will be provided by Chartwells (Monday – Thursday); we will provide a sumptuous, genuine Texas BBQ meal on Monday evening; the evening meals will be on your own Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
Once final negotiations with Chartwells is completed, whatever we save, we will pass on those cost-reductions directly to our students to help you offset your evening meal costs.
At this point, we know seven – possibly eight– faculty members will not be able to join us. We have a very talented faculty, but we try to structure things so that no one person is irreplaceable. There are no plans to cancel classes; our remaining faculty can cover the classes and continue to provide you with a quality education and coaching experience in the science and art of congregational singing.
Right now we understand that it is challenging to forecast what next week might hold, let alone July. We have had a healthy number of potential students already inquiring about TNSS2020, so we’re confident that we will have numbers to make a good school. That being said, we would really appreciate your touching base with us to let us know that you’re planning on attending (806.777-8417). This will help us as we negotiate with housing and food services.
We know that so many other wonderful singing and music events for the church have been canceled. We would love for you to consider including TNSS in your amended plans for 2020.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
I have a music degree from a 4-year college and thought I knew everything I needed to know about singing and writing music. Guess what!!! Didn’t know as much as I thought I did. Learned tons of new stuff. They attract some of the best teachers in their field!! Well worth your time!!Aneva P.
“I highly recommend the Singing School, as there is an urgent need for song leader training.”Keith Lancaster (4/4/16), Cullman, Alabama
“I always thought I was a fairly decent song leader before attending the school. But having gone thru the program, I learned from excellent instructors and have confidence to lead in ways that I would have never tried before. I was challenged to be better, not for me, but for Him.”Robin E., Madison, Alabama
“The fellowship and love we had together in song and spirituality is something I will cherish for the rest of my life … I would encourage anyone who has a passion for leading the church in worship to take the time even for one year to experience what the Singing School has to offer.”Alan D., London, England
“I had a WONDERFUL time with all of you this week! I will work hard this year!”Megan A., Missouri
“We had a good time singing with you all tonight. Thanks for letting us stop by.”Jason F., Abilene, Texas
“What a great, intense week the Singing School was! I want to shout my thanks to all of you who work so hard to make this happen. I can only imagine the time and effort that goes into it.”Kerri R., Grants Pass, Oregon
“I thank all of the teachers, coaches, and staff here at ACU Singing School for helping me get where I am today. I had a long way to go and I’m just barely getting started… thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”Robert H., Temple, Texas
“So stoked to be in our church’s regular song leading rotation. Lead today again and loved it! I love leading people in worship for God! Thank you all for all I learned with you guys!”Jeff R., Abilene, Texas
“So today I was able to song lead in Ladies’ Chapel! I am proud to say that I did the time signature and was on pitch! … I got a lot of compliments and it made me really happy! So glad that I was able to go to this school and learn what I did!”Alejandra G., Lubbock, Texas
“Some of the most talented, sincere, and spiritual people I’ve ever met was because of the Singing School.”Robin E., Madison, Alabama
“I never would have thought or dreamed of being able to even be in front of 2 or 3 people a few years ago. … never would have been possible without the love, support, and teaching of this singing school.”Robert H., Temple, Texas