Is it just me, or has the concept of time gone completely askew since this whole ’thing’ began?! I am constantly being thrown between feeling like the days are whizzing by to asking myself, how has it only been 3 weeks since we were told to stay home and stay safe?
Life to me right now feels like a whole bundle of contradictions. While my heart breaks for those who are sick and suffering, going out of business, hungry, tired, overworked and overwhelmed, I am also acutely aware of how lucky I am to have this time at home with my family. I feel a huge sense of guilt and wish I could do more for my community. For now though, I know that my responsibility is to stay home and keep my boys safe and well, while trying my very hardest to provide small acts of kindness from a distance to those who I do manage to connect with.
I wake up each day desperate for all this to be over, but very quickly like a strong tug on my sleeve, I realize that this is our reality for now. There are still so many wonderful things happening in the world that give us hope and respite from the horror of this invisible enemy. I have witnessed a blossoming need to be creative. Unfortunately for me, with so much online content, I’m finding this frantic activity incredibly noisy! While I know it’s important to read the news, to know what’s happening in the world, I again am thrown between depressing stories of hardship to videos of singing, dancing, music, children, pets, video diaries and blogs. There are just so many distractions and I feel like a rabbit in headlights, not quite knowing which way to look!
There have been so many changes for everyone since the schools, concerts halls, theaters, restaurants, places of worship, offices and so many more places of business have all closed. Stay home to help save lives, so that is what we are doing…
Our young nonprofit Ashuelot Concerts and our family have collided in a mixture of emotions since we’ve all been locked up together. While we all try to find a new rhythm to our daily routine, it’s safe to say that it has been wonderfully chaotic with lots of laughter, mess, mud and music! The day usually begins with the gentle cajoling of our 2 and 5 year old boys, to eat breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed, make beds, chores etc. This usually involves chasing our youngest around the house like a crazed lunatic while shrieks of devious laughter fill the house! Our eldest son Nathaniel now has the backdrop of music all morning while one of us practices as he sits doing his Kindergarten work.
When unfolding events suddenly forced us to hold our last concert on March 14th behind closed doors, Nick and I never doubted for a second that we would find a way to continue our mission. Even though we knew it wouldn’t be quite the same, we never even discussed it, we just cancelled our vacation and set about the challenge of keeping live music alive. Our baby nonprofit was going to have to find a way to continue bringing meaningful, genuine, heartfelt performances to people, especially at this time of isolation.
Well, it has been a challenge, that is for sure! Preparing for performances alone takes endless hours of dedication, rehearsals and focused time. Simultaneously we had to find a way to use multiple microphones, computers, wires (so many wires!), cameras, new software programs, audio interfaces, and we had to make sure we had ample WiFi... the list goes on! Let me tell you, hands down that Nick Burns is most definitely the most brilliant person I know. He solved it all! He googled for answers and he made it all happen and for that I know you will share with me in thanking him wholeheartedly because without his genius and persistence, we would not going live every Wednesday and Sunday!
Then there’s the children, ah the sweet babes! During our most recent performance, my youngest had slathered raspberry jam in my hair, all down one side but at 7:45pm I had precisely 15 minutes to pull my hair back and perform Schubert and Grieg Violin Sonatas. It’s a race to the finish, well, to our 8pm broadcast time at least… Getting our boys their dinner, getting them in the bath, getting them out of the bath, getting them ready for bed, brushing their teeth, reading them stories (just one more story!) This can be a challenge at the best of times as I know many parents will understand and then to put my violin under my chin and off I go... well, it’s downright crazy! It’s a ride and a riot that I would not change. There will inevitably come a time over the coming weeks when we simply will not be able to press 'GO LIVE' at 8pm. Bad dreams, sore tummies, more cuddles may well prevent us from performing or perhaps we will have to stop mid-broadcast when the baby monitor goes off but hey, at least our wonderful audience might well be home the next night instead!
Since we began doing our Live-Stream concerts every Wednesday and Saturday we have had an outpouring of kindness and support for which Nick and I are eternally grateful. In challenging times like this it is easy to question how and what we can do to continue providing collective and shared experiences that hopefully leave a lasting impact. It is so devastating to think that concert halls across the globe have fallen silent. Now, more than ever, there is a desperate need to cut out the unnecessary noise and make sure that we nourish our souls with things that connect us, not only to one another, but keep us in touch with ourselves.