The organisers of the 2020 World Symposium on Choral Music, the leading international conference for the choral community due to take place in New Zealand in July, have announced the event’s cancellation because of growing uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement reads as follows:
It is with enormous sadness that Symposium 2020 Ltd, in conjunction with the New Zealand Choral Federation and the International Federation for Choral Music, has announced that the 12th World Symposium on Choral Music (WSCM2020), due to take place in Auckland, New Zealand from 11 to 18 July, is cancelled.
This decision is a direct result of the global outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19 and has not been made lightly. The pandemic is still growing exponentially throughout much of the world, international flights are already severely affected, and the New Zealand Government has imposed stringent self-isolation rules on all incoming travellers, while also indicating that massed gatherings may soon be restricted. There is no guarantee that the situation will have changed markedly by July. We have no option but to cancel now and provide a sense of certainty for all those affected, despite the huge disappointment that will accompany it.
We were thrilled by the quality of the choirs and presenters we were able to select from a record number of applications, and excited by the programme that had been created around them. It is a devastating blow not to be able to present this now to an eager audience. All we can do is send our deep regrets and sincere thanks to every singer, conductor, partner, funder, administrator, registrant, staff member and volunteer who has supported us on this WSCM2020 journey.
Ngā mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa. Our heartfelt thanks to you all.’
The cancellation represents the latest casualty of the global viral epidemic, following similar announcements about SXSW and, most recently, Classical:NEXT.
John Rosser, WSCM2020 Artistic Director, said:
‘We have all witnessed the massive impact the spread of COVID-19 is having on current and upcoming events across the world. There is no guarantee that this situation will have changed markedly by July.
‘The Symposium was to bring many of the best choirs and practitioners on the planet into New Zealand for a feast of concerts and other events before a large international audience. However, it has become clear that all the elements that made the event such an exciting prospect for our country also put it most at risk. After exhaustive examination of alternatives and consideration of risks, we have elected to cancel WSCM2020 now, in order to provide certainty for people who will be most affected.’
‘We are deeply sorry that all those who had planned to come to Auckland for this wonderful event will now not be able to enjoy everything we had prepared. All registrations and concert tickets will be refunded, but delegates and ticket buyers are asked to approach this process with patience as our team works through many enquiries.
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) General Manager Destination, Steve Armitage, said ATEED supported the decision:
‘While we fully understand that some people will be disappointed, the uncertainty of the situation has left the organisers with little choice. We look forward to Auckland hosting some of the world’s most talented singers in the future.’