A Message From Mark At The Outset Of This Crisis
Hello everyone. We are devastated just as every other person in America and around the world is, that we are experiencing a global pandemic in COVID-19. At this point the only comparison might be the Spanish Flu during WWI, one hundred years ago. I remember distinctly when I was a young boy, my mother telling me that nothing like the Spanish Flu, the pandemic my grandma lived through in Memphis, will never take place again because we now have “modern medicine” today. She told me this in the 1960s. We are left to wonder what happened. What we all are going through has been so utterly tragic and really frightening in so many ways. So far, myself and my family are healthy, but like every other musician, our concerts have been cancelled right and left, all of them for the foreseeable future. When the cancellations first began to happen a couple of weeks ago, we were hoping we could hang on to at least a few shows, but of course the last week has told us clearly that all public gatherings needed to be banned in order to prevent the spread of this coronavirus.
I think all musicians at least hoped that this will be gone in a month or two at least, and the summer season would be saved for music and fun. As of the last couple of days, the official word is that this virus could be with us for quite some time, at least though the summer. There are models where it could surge again for a 2nd time around, even after these draconian “shelter in place” protocols are lifted eventually. This could all be some kind of new norm for not just many weeks but months. Even if many of us don’t get sick, or others get sick but have a normal flu-like reaction to the virus, I do not know how many people will earn enough money to make a living. As a performing musician, this is nearly an impossible situation for our livelihoods. But it’s also such a shame to not have music in concert venues for audiences around the country and the globe for many months either, especially in the time of crisis where I always believed that going out to see great music heals the souls. The beautiful concert venues where the music and musical experience is the most glorious. But of course the likely amount of sickness and death associated with this contagion dwarfs any glorious feeling we could have now. The totality of it all is absolutely sobering.
Maggie and are going to make a commitment into staying around the house, but going for walks in the park keeping 6 feet of distance from folks. We’ll only go into the public for weekly groceries and necessities from the drug store – if that even. We are going to practice social distancing although it is difficult for musicians like me to do that as we usually come into personal contact with literally thousands of people each year with handshakes, hugs, taking pictures etc… We have been washing our hands constantly, using hand sanitizer when out on the essential errand. Today I even wiped down all of the groceries we bought with Lysol wipes. It only took another 15 minutes to accomplish it, and well… what else are we going to do - we have a lot more free time on our hand with everything cancelled in sight. Might as well be a neat freak, which by my own habits I am really not! It could save our lives though, and maybe the lives of others in this scenario.
On tour December 2020 with the Mark O'Connor Band
Mark O'Connor's An Appalachian Christmas featuring the Grammy-winning
Mark O'Connor Band (December 2020)
CD Compilation by the Mark O'Connor Band
(includes two songs produced and joined by Zac Brown)