- Associated Press - Monday, September 14, 2020

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - When Emerson Eads, director of choral activities at Minot State University, was planning choral activities for his students this fall during the COVID-19 pandemic, he needed to make sure students could sing but also be protected.

“To that end, one of the endeavors has been to find and order singing masks – masks which allow room around the mouth and lips to enhance resonance, ease breathing, and protect our singers,” said Eads.

But, he said, all the online places to get such masks were backed up for weeks and weeks.



Then an artist friend from MSU, told him that Creative Dimensions, a Minot business, might be able to help, the Minot Daily News reported.

Chelce Detert is owner of Creative Dimensions, a quilt store also offering classes in northwest Minot.

Eads stopped to see Detert who, he said, began to take ideas from what he wanted in a mask and designed a mask for the MSU singers.

“This took days, and the help of other local businesses, such as Minot Restaurant Supply to find plastic bindings light enough to provide a shell without adding weight to the singer’s face,” Eads said.

A team of several people with Creative Dimensions has been working on making the singing masks.

Detert said it was “a big project” for them. First of all, she said she had to design the pattern.

The masks are made of 100 percent cotton. Ties are used on the masks to make them tighter or looser. A piece of plastic gives the masks a 3-D shape. She said that looks like a “duck bill” and helps give extra space when wearing the mask.

Detert said it takes nearly half an hour to make each mask from start to finish.

She said they will complete 50 for the MSU Concert Choir.

The choir members used the masks for the first time on Wednesday, Sept. 2. Anthony Mahler, Minot, a member of the choir who was asked how it is to sing wearing the special masks, said, “It’s great.”

The Minot Chamber Chorale also also be receiving the specialty masks.

Detert said designing and making the singing masks was an opportunity to help. “I want to do what I feel God is leading me to do,” she added.

“This is what Minot is all about – linking arms to get something like this accomplished so the arts can remain vibrant and alive. This would be much harder, if not impossible, to accomplish in a large metropolis… so MSU Concert Choir will have our order of specially designed singers masks, thanks to Chelce and others at Creative Dimensions. I am so grateful,” Eads said.

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