In a new twist on the popular live-streamed gigs of 2020, the team behind Lockdown Presents has devised a way for families and other groups to buy private online recitals of their favourite music, performed by top professional musicians.
Cellist Abi Hyde-Smith, violin duo Mainly Two, mezzo-soprano Mariya Kaganskaya, flautist Chloe Vincent and jazz-fusion saxophonist Marco Marotta are among the musicians offering their services across all forms of music. Singer songwriter Danny of DG Solaris has even performed the music round of a family quiz from the safety of a Zoom screen.
The heart of the concept is to give people the human contact they’ve been denied
Lockdown Presents performances offer professional musicians the opportunity to retrieve some of the income lost over 2020. The scheme is operated by volunteers and the musicians get 80% of a basic £30 fee for 15 minutes of performance, with the remaining profits going to three charity partners: Age UK, Refuge and Mind. Purchasers are encouraged to pay more according to their consciences and all such tips go to the artists. The instant nature of the booking system means the musicians could potentially play a number of bookings each day.
But the heart of the concept is to give people the human contact they’ve been denied over many months, and an opportunity to hear their favourite music performed live and to communicate directly with the artists online.
Sophie Dicks, who has previously performed with Welsh National Opera and Opera Holland Park, says she really enjoys the interactive experience. ‘Lockdown Presents is a great concept because it gives singers like myself an opportunity to keep performing when venues are closed and shows have been cancelled. It’s lovely to have a reason to perform again. I enjoy being able to interact with my audiences on a more personal level and see the smiles on their faces.’
Founders Simone Girardeau and Steffan Hoyemsvoll came up with the concept after asking musician friends to give an online recital to Simone’s 83-year-old grandmother, who was shielding in South Wales. The private birthday party brought the whole family together via Zoom and led to the creation of Lockdown Presents.
The project has since expanded into a programme of interactive live concerts broadcast into care homes. Anne McCall, one of the Lockdown Presents customers said, ‘The performance for us was a very life-affirming thing. There’s such a strong connection between mum sitting there in her care home where she’s had to sit since March and then this vibrant life affirming sound. It’s like a validity. It’s like connecting her to the outside world.’
Simone Girardeau expressed her team’s passion for the project: ‘These are thrilling, interactive and magical events that help to keep families connected and isolated loved ones entertained through their shared enjoyment of live performance. We understood that care homes haven’t been able to host their usual programme of activities this year as a result of lockdown, so we are using technology safely, to bring them joy and fun without any risk of spreading the virus. Professionals getting into character and performing music in your own surroundings is always exhilarating.’
Further information can be found at www.lockdownpresents.com.