Overtones choir performing at St Petre's church.
Overtones choir performing at St Petre's church.

With restrictions still into force, members of choir groups and orchestras are now gearing up for virtual carol performances this Christmas. Amid the pandemic situation, churches across Mumbai will have low key celebrations this year.

Earlier, this week, Archbishop of Mumbai Oswald Cardinal Gracias had issued a set of COVID-19 guidelines for churches, highlighting that churches will not hold open air masses on Christmas eve and fewer participants will be allowed to enter the church premises at a time.

Prabhu Yeshu Janmotsav, an apex body of Christmas celebrations in Mumbai, had also declared that it won't be holding any public celebrations this year.

Due to the precautionary measures, many parishes and catholic localities have called off. Choirs have decided to sing carols virtually instead.

"Our choir performs carols at multiple venues every year. But this year, our performances will be limited to our studio room only as our performances will be broadcasted online at churches," said Patrick Gomes, a music teacher and music arranger of a city-based choir.

Gomes informed that, to avoid gathering of people, many parishes have kept limited programs this year.

"Also, every year, we perform at house parties and clubs. Most of these parties stand cancelled this year," stated Samir Dias, a keyboardist and member of Gomes's choir.

Most of the singers in the choir are students from the school where Gomes teach music, which is why they don't have the added pressure of paying his members. Gomes states that his orchestra performs out of happiness and not for money during Christmas.

"We will be setting up giant screens outside the church from where carol performances will be broadcasted directly. Members of our parishes will also be given IDs so that they can log in from their home and enjoy the mass and carols,” said an office bearer of a suburban Church in Mumbai.

The office bearer stated, if the need arises, then masses could be held online as well.

"Not many people are turning up for the masses on Sundays. There's still a week left for Christmas. We will monitor and update our standard operating procedures if required," he stated.

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