Well. Where to start?
These are strange and stressful times. The threat of illness brings with it huge amounts fear and anxiety and it is surreal to be experiencing this on a global level. Just when we need comfort and strength from our communities, we are voluntarily isolating ourselves, locking our doors on an enemy we can’t see.
It’s important to remember that we are overreacting on purpose: it is not fear but prudence that is pushing the shutdown of many of our institutions and I am grateful that we have leaders who are willing to make these hard choices now, while there is time to work at containment.
We have rescheduled our March concert to October. We will make lemonade out of this situation and host a mini-festival of female band-leaders featuring the Claire Devlin Quartet, the Adi Meyerson Quartet, and Gentiane MG with Frank Lozano. It will be epic and I hope it gives you something to look forward to. We will be assessing the viability of the May shows closer to their dates.
I am proud to say that the first reaction in the jazz community to shows being cancelled was an overwhelming concern for the musicians who are losing their livelihood. I met Friday with members of our community and we have created Calgary Jazz Relief as a way to address this crisis. Kodi Hutchison, Artistic Director of Jazz YYC, was quick to offer the resources of his organization.
We are also looking at ways to live-stream music. Music is hope and we need this sound-track to our lives to lift us through tough times. Festivals you are used to attending in person may come to you over the internet this year. Please be open to that possibility and consider buying a subscription to streamed concerts.
I know this is a crappy, fretful, fearful time. The arts community will be reeling from the after-effects of this cultural shut-down long after people forget how COVID-19 infected our lives. But with adversity comes opportunity and this is our time to show the vulnerable amongst us that we care for them, that we journey with them, that we support them emotionally and financially.
On a personal note, Tom and I are instituting a voluntary quarantine for the next couple of weeks, at least, because Tom has several health concerns that make him part of a vulnerable population. But I will be helping distribute beef donated by Mitchell Bros. Beef to musicians (when the dust settles, please buy from them as they have been incredible!), BJP will be an active partner in Calgary Jazz Relief, and we will have our radar out for anyone who needs care and support. If that’s you, please be in touch. We want you to be well.