How Musicians Are Bringing Joy During the Pandemic

by Mark Ray

Read full article at NextAvenue.Org

Like most facilities, Cedar Manor Assisted Living in Chesapeake, Va., is in lockdown mode. But that didn’t stop clarinetist Kate Powell and her cellist husband, Marc, from performing there on Friday, March 20. They didn’t enter the facility, however.

Instead, they played about 20 feet outside the front door, while residents sat in the foyer and listened through a makeshift sound system. “Playing to an audience that you can kind of barely see was very strange at first,” Kate Powell says. “It ended up being super great. The administration said the residents were so excited that day.”

So, too, were the Powells. “We keep saying that it was so good for both sides of the glass,” Kate Powell says. “Musicians and artists, we have no audience right now.”

The Powells’ concert was a trial run for Tidewater Arts Outreach, where Kate Powell serves as director of development. The nonprofit sends a wide array of artists — including drama teams, dance troupes, poets and origami teachers — into dozens of senior living facilities each year.

“We keep saying that is was so good for both sides of the glass,” Kate Powell says. “Musicians and artists, we have no audience right now.”

Now, they’re trying to figure out how to continue their programming in the COVID-19 era. “Obviously this works really well for music, but for some of our other artistic types, maybe not so much,” Kate Powell says. “We’re still looking at what that would look like for a visual artist.”

But the group is committed to remaining engaged with people who are socially isolated even at the best of times.

“Being able to bring in artistic engagement is such an important part of helping people connect with each other and our artists and people outside the community,” Kate Powell says. “During this time, of course, that tendency toward isolation is tenfold or however you want to quantify that.”

Read full article at NextAvenue.Org

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