Hundreds of people from 11 states are in Mobile this week for the Southern Region Conference of the American Choral Director's Association.

"Singing is about community at its very core," said Vincent Oakes, President of ACDA Southern Region. "Just want to make sure that we're lifting each other up not just through music, not just through song, but making good choices about being around each other."

Oakes admitted its a tough time to have the conference with a pandemic but with the right precautions in place, he believes everyone will be fine.

So far, Alabama had no reported cases of coronavirus (3/12/2020 5:50 pm CST).

"We've been in contact with the health officials and the tourism officials here for several weeks leading up to this event. The work with the hospitality partners, the convention centers and hotels restaurants in the area," Oakes explained.

Some of the precautions include large signs around the convention facilities with proper hygiene habit reminders, copies of flyers with that information in each person's registration materials, and each registrant was given their own personal bottle of hand sanitizer.

"We've taken a lot of times with all of our student choirs to make sure that they have built in breaks for hand washing. To build in time to make sure that we're reviewing with them making space and making good decisions about how they're interacting with each other," said Oakes.

John Haas goes to Florida State University. He said once he returns from spring break, school will be done remotely.

"They gave us each these ACDA hand sanitizers so that's been really cute," said Haas. "I'm not worried...take me...but yeah as long as we're just staying safe and smart."

Caleb Norman is a Vocal Music Education Major at University of Louisiana at Monroe, he said like Haas, he's not too concerned, he plans to do what he's told to stay healthy.

"I feel comfortable. It's not that I'm not afraid of it. I don't want to get sick. I'm not looking to get sick or anything. Trying to stay safe," Norman said.

Conference officials said the numbers this year are below normal. They believe this is directly related to the coronavirus outbreak.

All content © 2019, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.


Toi Thornton is a Reporter. His Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism comes from Dillard University in 2014 and his Master's degree in New Media Journalism from Full Sail University in 2016. He previously worked as the Fox anchor in Lafayette, LA.

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