Tim Tamashiro, Jen Hooper, and Don Best are just some local musicians that are adapting to the changes and challenges that the coronavirus has brought so far. By performing small outdoor concerts and making house calls to those wanting to appreciate live music again, they hope to bring bliss to others and themselves.
“[Music] is such a social experience that people were really missing during COVID-19 and the quarantine. So, we thought there has to be a way to socially distance, and still bring the joy of music. We quickly realized cul du sac, driveway parties, and small neighbourhood gatherings were a very safe way that we could still do this,” Said Best and Hooper of Double Standard, a local acoustic duo.
Tamashiro explained that although the idea of performing during these times was needed for income, it was largely about spreading and receiving joy once again.
“At first I chose not to perform for anyone as I wanted to be respectful of the quarantine. I wanted to protect myself and others. When the weather started to get warm and the restrictions for outdoor events lifted, I came up with the Pop Up Jazz Club concept … I missed performing tremendously. I missed seeing people’s eyes and smiles. For my own well-being I needed to find a way to delight others.”
While a career in music is already not typically a straight path, artists are now also learning how to adapt to a new normal, and they’re forced to think about how this will affect their future even after COVID-19 has passed.
“It’s a constant uphill climb that has you carrying creativity, talent, and marketing in a heavy knapsack on your back. It requires a lot of positivity, and imagination but the rewards are worth it in my opinion,” said Tamashiro, “Live music venues and theatres will not be able to provide work for musicians for the foreseeable future, however, the audience still remains.”
Best and Hooper added that being proactive in a music career is key. They explained that having strategies for moving forward, as well as finding new and creative ways to enhance their careers, are essential to making sure that music survives.
“I think because it will be quite a while before we are back to ‘normal’ in the sense of performing at large concerts or indoors for packed bars and restaurants, being able to provide music in a safe way is a really great new way forward.”
With restrictions in Calgary continuing to lighten, home visits, small outdoor gatherings, cul du sac styled events, and Pop Up Jazz Clubs have increased in popularity. As business for these musicians picks up, so does the amount of precautions they take to ensure the safety of themselves and all guests involved. Each artist adheres to Health Canada’s guidelines; which includes no physical contact with guests, a distance of at least 6ft between the performer and the audience is to be maintained, and masks are encouraged to be worn.
Even though there are restrictions put in place for the safety of everyone involved, Tamashiro, Best, and Hooper want to make these events safe, fun and be a place where unforgettable memories are created.
“I [myself] have many exquisite memories from performing during COVID. I sang for a “re-wedding” at a backyard ceremony. I loved singing for seniors at their care facilities. I adored singing for a family who was celebrating their father’s/grandfather’s 81st birthday (it was the first birthday party he ever had). I loved seeing children dancing and playing throughout my performances. The one thing that has been abundant during COVID-19 is joyful, human, musical moments. I can’t be more thankful,” Said Tamashiro.
Before the event, audience members are asked to give the artists as much information as possible. Such as how compensation will work, where the show will be, how many people will be attending, etc. During the performance, guests are reminded to respect the performer’s space, have a few sanitized bottles of water available, and prepare for a one of a kind experience.
“I recommend that people prepare to have a marvelous time with their invited performers. Having a house / yard concert is a unique and special experience. You will remember the concert for the rest of your lives, so do little things to make it extra special … Make sure you chat with the entertainer throughout the show and help them feel special. Like a boomerang, that special feeling will come back to you,” Said Tamashiro.