People Find Creative Ways To Use Music As Salve During Isolation

Apr 26, 2020, 10:35 PM | Updated: Aug 1, 2022, 10:35 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A song can lift our mood, bring back memories, and connect us like nothing else can. It’s no wonder people are finding creative ways to use music as a salve during COVID-19 isolation.

On a typical Thursday, you would find the all-volunteer Salt Lake Symphonic Choir practicing.

“So many of us use the choir as therapy once a week, just to be able to get together and sing in harmony is an amazing feeling,” said Adam Holladay, composer-in-residence for the Salt Lake Symphonic Choir.

But now is anything but typical.

To stay safe from COVID-19, the choir cancelled their spring performance, but the group decided to record a song from home. Their individual efforts were then combined digitally.

The choir chose “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

“Because of the symbolism of the rainbow — that’s a sign of hope across the world. With people painting rainbows on pavements and sheets and hanging them up outside their house, we thought that was absolutely the perfect song to be singing at this time,” said Holladay, who is from Salt Lake City.

It’s a way to unite when they can’t sing as one.

“I’m just sad,” said Erin Pike Tall, artistic director of Salt Lake Symphonic Choir. “Music is such a special part of my life, and these choir members are such a big part of my life. This really is my family away from my family.”

Tad Calcara of Salt Lake City learned to play the clarinet from his grandfather.

“I would ride my bike over to grandma and grandpa’s house with my clarinet, and he would teach me these wonderful songs,” Calcara said.

He’s now principal clarinet for the Utah Symphony.

With their season suspended, Calcara recorded a Gershwin tune from 1924 as a literal one-man band. The piano, percussion, trumpet and clarinet – all Tad Calcara.

“We feel that this is one way that maybe we can keep a connection with our audience,” he said.

His performance went viral on Facebook.

“We’ve received comments from all over the world,” he said.

But not everyone has to be a professional musician to contribute.

The Bradley family has taken their campfire songs to social media.

“It’s something we can do as a family and kind of bond with, but also to be able to share it with other people,” said Seth Bradley, a husband and father of six girls who lives in Sandy.

The family said they were inspired by Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show when he formed a makeshift band with Sting and The Roots and sang the “Coronavirus theme song.”

“He’s got one guy playing the scissors, and another guy playing a pillow,” Bradley said. “After seeing that, my kids are like, ‘I want to play the scissors in our next song.’ It’s like, ‘okay, well…’”

They said the woods would be silent if only the best birds sang.

Right now, it’s not about being the best, but pouring out your heart.

In the choir’s case, the result is quite spectacular. Their performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” can be viewed on the choir’s website, or on their YouTube account.

“There are moments — either during rehearsal or particularly during a concert — when you can feel the same feeling as everybody else,” Holladay said.

And that feeling is bringing people together through music.

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People Find Creative Ways To Use Music As Salve During Isolation