News & Notes #1

January 1, 2024

Please read this important info before our first rehearsal tomorrow night

In this issue:

  • Meet the Producers: Jill and Alexandra

  • Welcome Message from our Director, Jonathan Singleton

  • First Night Check-in: Please review so we can have a smooth process and start singing on time!

  • Health & Safety Protocols

  • Livestream Link & Instructions if you're joining from home

  • Season at-a-glance: Key dates & FAQ's

Meet the Producers

We are thrilled to introduce this season's volunteer Producers: Jill Updegraph and Alexandra Lee!

The Producers are your "go-to" folks for questions about the season, and they'll be making some of the "Mystic Magic" happen behind the scenes. Thank you Jill and Alexandra!

Hi Mystic Singers:

I’m excited to be back on the production team with Linda and Alexandra for the coming Gospel season. And super excited to be working with Jonathan Singleton again.  

I’ve been singing with Mystic since 2017 and it is always a joy. This fall, I ventured into the soprano section for the first time (after being a life long alto). I can’t wait to make music with all of you no matter what part you are singing. Have a safe and happy holiday and see you in 2024.  ❤️ Jill 


I am Alexandra Lee, a soprano and sang last year in the Mystic Gospel Choir and loved it. 

In the past I have produced a gospel workshop with Jonathan to celebrate Mystic's 25th anniversary and he is just terrific.

I am really looking forward to a great season and getting to know the singers better. 

See you in the New Year!

Questions about the season?

Reach out to Alexandra & Jill at:


Our Producers are volunteers with busy lives! They will do their best to get back to you within 24 hours.

Welcome Message from our Director, Jonathan Singleton

Hello Mystic Chorale friends!

Welcome to Mystic Gospel 2024! It’s especially exciting for me to return as your director after being away for a few seasons. I’m looking forward to our becoming reacquainted and exploring some good gospel music together. 

So come to our rehearsals with open ears, an open heart, your pencils and voice recorders and let’s sing our best knowing He’s always watching! (…and by “he” of course I mean Nick …)


First Night Check-in



  • A Mask - We ask everyone to wear a mask at rehearsal #1 while checking in and getting your materials. You can take your mask off, if you wish, once you are ready to sit in the sanctuary. 

  • Proof of vaccination & photo ID (NEW SINGERS ONLY) - If you are a new singer, or returning for the first time since Covid, please bring your vax card, photocopy, or photo on your phone. Note: if you've already shown us your vax card in a prior season, you do not need to bring it again.

  • If you are not vaccinated, bring your negative test result

  • Water bottle

  • Audio recorder or phone with a recording app to record your parts

  • Warm layers: We will have the windows open and fans on so bundle up for rehearsal. Bring a sweater, scarf, gloves, whatever you may need to be comfortable.


Volunteers will be ready to begin checking you in at 6:45. Once you check in, we invite you to gather in the grassy courtyard behind the church to socialize before rehearsal begins at 7:30 (weather permitting).

If you need directions, you can find them here: First Parish Directions, Map & Parking Info.


(in the Vestry)

Health Attestation: When you check in, you are attesting that you do not have any Covid symptoms, and answer "NO" to all of the following questions. If you answer "Yes" to any of these, please do not attend rehearsal in person. Instead, you can tune into the Livestream. See the Livestream link and instructions below.

  • Have you tested positive for COVID in the last 10 days?

  • Have you been in close contact with a person infectious with COVID in the last 10 days?

  • Do you have COVID symptoms: nasal congestion, cough, sore throat, fever, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal symptoms, new loss of taste or smell, muscle aches or any other signs of illness?


(in the Vestry)

If you are a new singer, stop in to pick up a nametag and say hello to our new singer welcome team. You can ask questions, learn about our buddy program, and start making friends!


(in the Sanctuary)

Pick up your music and lyrics for the season.

And then we’ll SING!!  

We can’t wait to see you there.

If you have any questions, please reach out to the Producers:


Health & Safety Protocols

  • Masks:  Singers may sing masked or unmasked, as a matter of their personal comfort and preference.

  • Note to unmasked singers: We have some singers whose health, or that of someone in their household, is such that it makes getting infected with Covid a big deal.  If you are choosing to not wear a mask while singing, please be mindful of those others in our community who are vulnerable. Please:
  • Sit in the front of your section
  • Bring a mask with you each week so you can put it on if you are in crowded conditions.  
  • If you are having a conversation with someone who is wearing a mask, offer to put your mask on.

  • Seating arrangement: We will ask singers NOT wearing masks to sit at the front of their sections so that they are not singing over masked singers. We will have clear signage and volunteer ushers on the first night to organize seating – please follow their guidance.

  • Wellness check: At sign in each week, please take note of our wellness requirements to safely participate. By checking in, you are attesting that you are not experiencing any Covid symptoms, and have not been recently exposed to someone with Covid. The wellness requirements will be prominently displayed by the sign-in sheets.

  • Alternatives for anyone under the weather: We will expect any singer not feeling well to stay home, for their own safety and for the safety of the community. Those not feeling well can participate via livestream. The livestream link will be in the News & Notes each Friday and the rehearsal reminder email on Tuesday.

  • Ventilation: We have become skilled at modifying the ventilation in the sanctuary and vestry to provide strong ventilation appropriate to singing. We monitor the system as we sing with a CO2 meter. 

  • Policies for those who might have been exposed to Covid or become ill:

  • We ask that any singer who tests positive for Covid to let us know immediately. We will notify other singers that someone has tested positive, specifying the dates when the person was infected, and their section. No name or other identifying information will be shared.

  • Any singer who is not feeling well or who has been been exposed to someone with Covid will be asked to stay home and watch the livestream simulcast of the rehearsal.

  • Please know that things could change: The Board may change these protocols at any time. If we have a Covid outbreak, or if there is a surge or change in CDC recommendations, we may return to requiring masks for all singers.

For Virtual Singers

Livestream Instructions & Tips

Welcome Virtual Singers!!

We are so glad you are joining us, and look forward to having you there "with us" in the rehearsal hall!

What you will need:

  • A computer/laptop (recommended) We recommend your computer or laptop - the bigger the screen, and the better your speakers, the more you will feel "with" us. But a tablet, ipad or phone will work, too.

  • Headphones, Earbuds or External Speakers (highly recommended). The better your speakers, the more you will hear the director and singers in the room.

  • A place to sit and sing comfortably. We suggest an upright chair, similar to what you would find at rehearsal. A soft chair or couch is not as conducive to good singing.

How to tune into the Livestream:

At 7:30 on Tuesday, click the video preview or link below, and you'll be with us! Each week, we'll post the livestream link here in News & Notes, and on the website, here

If we lose the Livestream signal:

Occasionally, we lose the livestream signal due to a poor internet connection. If that happens, go to the "Just in case" backup link below. We'll try to be back up and running asap!

How to watch the video after the rehearsal:

If you miss the Livestream on Tuesday night, it will be available on our website and a YouTube Playlist   after rehearsal.  

Livestream Rehearsal

Click the image below to join the rehearsal from home:

"JUST IN CASE" - Backup Livestream Link

Occasionally, we lose the livestream signal due to a poor internet connection. If that happens, go to the "backup link" below. We'll try to be back up and running asap!

Backup link (for use ONLY if we lose the livestream):



Rehearsals:  8 Tuesdays, January 2 – February 20, 7:30-9:30 pm. First Parish Unitarian, 630 Mass Ave., Arlington, MA.

Attendance Policy:

Please note that you may miss no more than 2 rehearsals to sing in the concert. New this season: You may count ONE Livestream rehearsal towards your attendance requirement. Sectional counts as make-up for a missed rehearsal.


Basses – Thursday, January 25, 7:00-7:55

Tenors – Thursday, January 25, 8:00-8:55

Altos – Thursday, February 1, 7:00-7:55

Sopranos – Thursday, February 1, 8:00-8:55


Dress/Tech Rehearsal: Thursday, February 22, 7:00-9:30

Cary Hall, Lexington, MA

Concert: Friday, November 23, Call time 5:00 pm

Cary Hall, Lexington

Concert Attire: TBD

Where to watch the livestream or video:


See you soon!

The Mystic Chorale | Website

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