During the coronavirus outbreak, there are few things providing people with comfort and hope. With nearly all people’s lives turned upside down, music has become a constant sense of normality in this time of uncertainty. May it be singing from the rooftops, singing to the elderly, virtual concerts, or even listening to songs that bring joy, music has become a light in these difficult times.
“Music is so important in this dreary time because it brings life and joy. Listening to music is my go-to when I feel sad or stressed and it is very calming and soothing. It is a small thing that makes a big difference sometimes,” Savannah Madar (’21) said.
In Italy, one of the most highly affected countries of the coronavirus, citizens are quarantined in their apartments, leaving the once bustling streets completely empty. Many apartments, however, have balconies overlooking these streets. Rather than leave these streets quiet and dreary, tenants took it upon themselves to fill the town with beautiful songs from the comfort of their homes. Entire streets, hundreds of people, could be seen singing everything from popular pop songs to their national anthem. They even used pots and pans as makeshift instruments. This use of music has united the Italian people and inspired people throughout the world to not lose hope. Bono, frontman of U2, was so inspired he even wrote a song entitled “Singing Across Rooftops” and posted it on Instagram, with the message “Though your heart is overthrown, let your love be known,” further showing how impactful music can be.
Bono is not the only one using the internet to spread music. With large gatherings prohibited, many artists have had to cancel their live performances and tours. This, however, has not stopped them from doing what they love and sharing their talent. Warner Music Group is hosting virtual music festival Play on Fest by replaying past concerts all throughout the weekend of April 24 to support the World Health Organization. With platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, artists such as Miley Cyrus, Niall Horan, P!nk, and John Legend perform for their beloved fans for free. Elton John even hosted a benefit concert featuring artists such as Billie Eilish and Alicia Keys, all performing from their own homes. This benefit encouraged viewers to donate to Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation. These artists have used their music to not only bring people together, but to help those working on the forefront of this pandemic.
Music has also helped bring joy to those at very high risk of the virus: the elderly. With older people being at high risk, senior living facilities have had no choice but to take extreme but necessary precautions, including prohibiting family from entering the building and quarantining seniors in their apartments. At The Residence at Summer Street here in Stamford, this means meals are delivered to each apartment individually. Francisco Garcia, server at The Residence, was asked to bring his guitar to work and serenade the seniors as he delivered their food. Francisco, who had never performed for other people before, was so glad he could put a smile on their faces and bring joy.
Finally, while cooped up inside, people have turned to listening to their favorite songs and records to get them through this tough time. While cooking, doing chores, or just lounging around, music is being used to create a comfortable environment that people want to and are excited to live in.
“Music gives me a break from reality. I have always liked listening to music and it has been a normal thing to do, but recently it has allowed me to take my mind off of things and just focus on getting my work done. It also motivates me to do certain things like work out or study,” Dakota Zampa (’20) said.
Guitarist and songwriter Lenny Kaye has been listening to “Malfukshun” and “Mother Love Bone” to inspire his writing.
“I made a ‘Quarantunes’ playlist! I have discovered a lot of new artists I love during my time inside and have been sending my friend music as well. It is an awesome way to stay connected,” Zara Williamson (’22) said.
By listening to songs that we associate with a better, happier time, we are able to make the best out of this unusual situation, and get through this together.