Muscatine Vocal Music Department using ‘Singer’s masks’

Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 7:02 PM CDT
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MUSCATINE, Iowa (KWQC) - The Muscatine Vocal Music department is getting creative amid the pandemic. 

Singing expels larger water droplets than speaking. These water droplets also travel farther, increasing the risk of spreading the virus. 

Masks will be required inside the classroom in Muscatine, posing a unique challenge for singers. Enter the ‘Singer’s mask’. 

“The singer’s mask is a mask that sits just in front of the face and gives just a little resonance chamber for your sound to resonate so that it can travel farther, you can hear, and you can hear yourself better and others better,” Teale Burford, Associate Choral Director says. 

Buying 405 singers masks online for all choir students at Muscatine schools would cost thousands of dollars. Burford made her own prototype. 

“After I made one I thought, I can do this. I know there are other people like me that can do this. Probably better than me, faster than me and I knew that the Muscatine community would step up. I just knew it, there was never a doubt in my mind,” Burford says. 

Neal’s Sewing and Vacuum Center in Muscatine sold fabric to the choral department at a discount. A Facebook post from the choir department prompted countless responses from the community for help.

“I have volunteers coming out of my ears and it is absolutely wonderful. I am not surprised, but I am overwhelmed,” says Burford. 

The choir department is looking for people to cut out patterns for the special masks. 

“We want to put kits together for our sewers so we can just drop it off on their doorstep so they have everything that they need. They don’t have to do any cutting, all they have to do is the pining and the sewing so we are hoping that that will make it easier and expedite it. And it doesn’t cost the sewers a dime.” 

And masking is not where the precautions inside the choir room stop. Students will also be singing in smaller groups and singing outside. 

Despite the changes, she is glad to see a community come together to help out their local school in an unprecedented time. 

“I had no doubt that Muscatine would step up and it is incredibly encouraging and it is so heartwarming to see the community immediately come forth and say, ‘I want to help,’ Burford says. 

If you are interested in helping the choir, email You can also visit the choir Facebook page for more information. 

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