To most working in the entertainment industry, the pandemic has completely swept the rug from under our feet: Covid has decimated live music in 2020. In May, Classic FM reported that a fifth of musicians fear the pandemic will end their career. We’ve seen many hashtags on social media, pleading #letthemusicplay, #wemakeevents and #saveourvenues, and it feels like July and August have finally heard our prayers. With the easing of lockdown in the UK, the resuming of small wedding ceremonies and the re-opening of hospitality in July, it feels like we’re moving in the right direction (of the stage). Added to that, a study published last week by the University of Bristol, and leading UK voice experts, found singing to be far less dangerous than originally feared in the spread of coronavirus.
First up for me was a local wedding ceremony with my violin. Rescheduled now for the fourth time this year, I was finally able to help celebrate the marriage of Moses and Jestina in a small church ceremony. Playing hymns on my violin for the congregation (who were not themselves allowed to join in singing) made the couple’s personal song choices even more special and, as one of only 30 people allowed there, it was even more of a privilege to do so.
As cheesy as it sounds, I’m not ashamed to say that it felt like my heart was singing along with my voice the first time I sang again on stage. Hosting residential courses at Finchcocks gives me the opportunity to entertain guests of an evening, and I was delighted to be one of the first to christen the newly built open-air stage with world class accompaniment from tutors Graham Fitch and David Hall in a few concerts during the heat wave. Having been starved of live music, my audiences were so smiley and appreciative – it was the perfect environment to ease performance nerves having not performed for four months!
As the weather becomes more unstable and autumn approaches, it feels like there are a lot more obstacles to overcome. But I am going to cling on to the very joyful memories of my post-lockdown performances and sharing live music with people again. We can make it work, whatever the new normal. Here’s to beautiful music, and the silence in between.
“Music is the silence between the notes. The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.” ~ Claude Debussy