For the past 16 years, Anna and Erik Meyer have performed as a professional musician duo and it’s one of the things they miss most while quarantining during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Performance is such a huge part of what we do all the time,” Anna Meyer said. “…To not have that outlet for the unforeseeable future felt strange to us.”
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Temple University instructors Anna and Erik Meyer have begun #quarantineconcerts, a series of classical music performances streamed live from their living room.
They’ve performed since quarantining was recommended, which has now turned into a statewide stay-at-home order from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf amid the COVID-19 outbreak, The Temple News reported.
The concerts are streamed live on Facebook each day from their home in Abington, Pennsylvania. They play the flute and piano and perform pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Brahms, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and George Frederic Handel.
Anna Meyer, who’s currently in a doctorate program for flute performance, said the live aspect of the performances gives viewers a specific time to interact with the performers and give real-time feedback, similar to a concert.
“There’s the selfish aspect of, we need to do this as artists, but also for people who can’t get out and hear concerts,” she said. “The people who appreciate it the most are people who seem to be more isolated than others.”
The Meyers intentionally create an informal atmosphere by playing in their living room, they said.
“It doesn’t have to be a virtuoso performance, we’re in an unprecedented time,” Anna Meyer said. “I have friends who are doing porch concerts in their concert clothes for their neighborhood, but we’re purposely doing this like, ‘Here’s where we are today, and it’s dark and rainy and I had a really bad day and this is how we’re feeling.’”
Arreon Harley, a colleague of the Meyers’ and the director of music and operations at the Choir School of Delaware, in Wilmington, Delaware, said the concerts allow listeners to cope with their emotions during this pandemic.
“In a time when we are separated, to be brought together by art is something to be revered,” Harley said. “It gives us permission to feel a sense of hope, fear, manicness, joy, humor and love.”
Anna Meyer’s mother, Kristine Wessler, tunes in to listen every day, sometimes even while walking her dog, she said. A pianist herself, listening to her daughter perform reminds her of times when they played together, she added.
“Anna is very creative and her life attitude is about serving others,” Wessler said. “I had the privilege of accompanying Anna during her years at home and remembering the pieces we did together gives me great joy to hear them again, especially during this strange time.”
While they’ve easily transitioned their concerts online, Anna Meyer said the transition to teaching classes online was frustrating, especially for courses that require studio space, instruments and group participation.
“When you move music online it’s like teaching chemistry from inside a banana, it just doesn’t work,” Anna Meyer said. “I coach chamber music and I have a group of five flute players who are supposed to be playing together, and I had to get creative about assignments because there’s no online format that supports that.”
Erik Meyers teaches an upper-level music theory class and found it difficult to facilitate in-depth classroom discussions, she added.
Although Harley wants life to resume after the pandemic, he said he’ll miss the Meyers’ daily concerts.
“I will miss the exceptional musicianship and more importantly, I will miss the sense of community that they have woven together,” Harley added.
Anna Meyer likes using this time to be creative, but she’s excited to get back out and perform together again, she said.
“I’m hopeful it’ll make us realize we need art and music, because we’ve had to be away from it for so long,” Anna Meyer added. “I’m hoping when we can go back out, people will be like, ‘Let’s go to the theater, the symphony, the concert, let’s do something where we’re out being humans together.’”