TORONTO, June 30, 2020 /CNW/ - "Hey Canada. That's not a porch, it's a stage." reads an ad developed by new not-for-profit, Sound Recovery whose tagline is "Let the music play. Safely." The movement was inspired by an accidental experiment on the streets of Toronto during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Tuesday, June 30th marks the 100th night of the gathering that started back in March when everyone was in parkas and tuques and there was still snow on the ground. A hundred days later, it is indisputable what has kept everyone coming out - it's the music. "What started as a 7 p.m. pot banging for frontline workers has organically morphed into nightly music therapy for our street," explains Sound Recovery founder and the street's nightly DJ, Liz Falconer.
Falconer's neighbourhood has found connection and community across ages spanning from 5 to 85. In that time, there have been no virus outbreaks among the 60 plus homes that participate. The nightly street dance lasts 30 minutes and ends with a live trumpet rendition of O Canada played from a nearby high-rise by renowned trumpeter, Andras Molnar.
For this reason, safe music experiences have become an obsession for Falconer. "It's a very small idea with very big dividends. I make a playlist, say a few words and then press play. I'm not a musician, but those who create and play music deserve our gratitude. If our music nights prove anything, it's that communities need music and musicians, now more than ever."
Falconer wants music fans to get creative. "Our appetites for music during this pandemic need to be fed with solutions that put artists back to work. If our porches and our front yards are the new stages, so be it. It won't be the same as a real music venue, of course," admits Falconer. "It is a pandemic solution. For artists who want to play, it is a 'better than nothing' proposition."
Take Canadian pop artist Suzie McNeil. McNeil was singing with Aerosmith in Las Vegas when COVID-19 cancelled a full schedule of bookings. The same went for her husband Andrew MacTaggert, a musician about to go on tour with Tim Hicks. Their income ground to a halt with no idea when work might resume. Among musicians across Canada this story is not uncommon. At Falconer's invitation, Suzie and Andrew played a live physical distancing concert for the street. "I was thrilled to be invited. I really miss performing," said McNeil. "If there is a way to play, at any scale, I am in." McNeil has now been invited to play several other intimate physical distance concerts demonstrating this could be the start of an interim strategy for artists who want to continue working.
McNeil is not the only well known artist to play for this music-obsessed neighbourhood. The Reklaws and Dean Brody have also played. As it happens, the pandemic cancelled 50+ shows for the country music band that has a hit at #1 on the Country Music Charts. "We were a little nervous to play," says Stuart Walker of The Reklaws. "We hadn't played since January. It felt good to perform again. It was hard to conceive how a COVID-19 restricted concert might work but it did. Everyone physically distanced and just enjoyed the music. It was a treat to play for a real audience again."
Officially launching this week, Sound Recovery is offering artists and neighbourhoods physical distancing marketing materials and support to incent them to initiate their own Sound Recovery. The movement intends to expand to commercial spaces where other physical distancing models are being explored. Support and signage are being financed through donations to Sound Recovery from the very community that inspired its inception. The Toronto community, still going strong every night, will be celebrating 100 nights in a grand finale evening on Tuesday, June 30th where the street will be dressed in red and white as they stand together for the National Anthem one last time on the eve of 153rd Canada Day.
About Sound Recovery:
A not-for-profit organization with a mission to spotlight, support and inspire innovative physical distance music experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Artists Suzie McNeil and Stuart Walker are available for media interviews.
SOURCE Sound Recovery
For further information: For Media Inquiries, Please Contact: Liz Falconer, Founder, Sound Recovery, 416-903-7110 | [email protected]