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I want to hold my 91 year old mother in my arms right now, but it's safer for us to keep apart - at least for the time being. I am so lucky that Mom insisted on learning how to do email and surf the web when she was in her late 70s. I'm so grateful that she is still able to do these things with ease. Her constant desire to learn has made this forced distance a little easier for both of us. ("Hi Mom!" Mom gets these newsletters, too. ;-)
 
So how do you keep in touch with your friends and family? How do you sustain your need for connection while in relative isolation? Email? Phone Calls? Snail mail? Social Media? Walks in the park where you wave and speak to neighbors from across relative spans of safety? All of the above? I've been toying with the idea of playing troubadour and putting on a mini-concert for my Mom from the ground below her apartment balcony. That would be a safe enough distance. (Would you like that, Mom?) Al doesn't think this would work out because our acoustic instruments are too quiet and couldn't project far enough. I'm thinking we should just park our van on the side of the road, leave it idling with the blinkers on, and run an extension cord for an amplifier. Then we could proceed to play music until the retirement community security guard comes around to run us off. If one of Mom's neighbors was displeased by the sudden serenade, security might come 'round for us sooner than later, though. It might be worth a try? Then again, it might not. Online is probably the way to go. An opt-in concert would certainly be more polite, so I think we're going to give that a try first.
 
In all seriousness, what are performing artists supposed to do now that their schedules have been wiped clean? The shock of sudden job loss is hitting so many workers, and so many industries at once. We know we are not alone in confronting this.
 
To paraphrase a Beatles lyric, "we'll get by with a little help from our friends."
 
In the wake of coronavirus and social distancing, our brilliant friend, Sally Sparks has teamed up with an amazing group of people to create the "Keep Music Live Project." Al and I regretted having to cancel our duo concert that was scheduled for this weekend. However, because of Sally's enthusiasm and lightning-fast organizational skills, a new online concert is already on the books and will be broadcast from Dream Guitars.
 
If you would like to watch Al play a live solo guitar concert online, follow this link to register. The concert will be broadcast live on Friday, March 20th at 7:00pm. More details can be found below the bouncing bears.
 
With much love to you from our little mountain,
 
— Amy (& Al)
 
MORE BEARS ON HAMMOCKS!
 
I'm thinking we could all use some light-hearted fun right around now.
Hence today's posting of HAMMOCK BEARS - Video 5!
 Spring is right around the corner.
Before long, the bear cubs, bobcat kittens, and fox kits will be cavorting in front of my trail cameras again. I can hardly wait.
 
It is my passion and my pleasure to offer you a curated collection of critter capers. I hope these videos will bring you a smile or two during the difficult months ahead.
 
A partnership to connect us all
Keep Music Live Project
"The pandemic has already turned out to be an enormous hardship for performing artists. Performance opportunities for musicians have completely collapsed. Physical isolation is the right thing to do, but we all have a need for community, and musicians need work.
 
Our response is to take Streamside Concerts online. We have partnered with Acoustic Journeys concert series, Dream Guitars, Fretboard Journal, Deb Cornish Audio, and Asheville Music School to bring live shows online. You will be able to watch a show online from the comfort and safety of home, interact (via chat) with other viewers, and contribute to the artists via PayPal, Venmo (or other pay platform) as you would if you were attending a physical show. I hope this will give us a sense of connection as well as have a way to help sustain musicians through this crisis.