Now a year since the world descended into the coronavirus pandemic, few aspects of life have been affected as deeply as the arts.
Live performances in front of an audience have been few and far between, but Mercyhurst’s D’Angelo Department of Music has been working hard to keep sharing the gift of music with others.
On Feb. 8, the first livestream faculty recital was broadcast from the Walker Recital Hall on campus. Featuring Jonathan Moser on violin and Sarah Kahl, Ph.D. on piano, the concert featured five pieces: “Rondo from Serenade in D Major (‘Haefner’)” (Mozart/Kreisler), “Dance Espagnole from La Vida Breve” (De-Falla/ Kreisler), “Nocturne in C Sharp Minor” (Copin/arr. Milstein), “Poème, Op. 25” (Chausson), and “Scherzo – Tarantelle, Op. 16” (Wieniawski).
This was the first livestream recital performed by either Moser or Kahl, who were both grateful to have an opportunity to perform live.
“From the outset I will say that I am so glad for the opportunity afforded by technology to connect with friends, family, colleagues and students,” said Moser. “Many of us feel that we have been in a desert with the life-giving water of connection through music being shut-off. This at least was a trickle of water for parched lips.”
Despite the benefits that technology has provided the arts during the pandemic, performers and audiences alike agree that performances with a live audience provide something that is missing over a computer.
“Performing to an empty hall via livestream is better than not performing at all, but the experience for the performers as well as for the listeners is diminished. A live audience gives palpable energy back to the performers and it is very much a shared experience. Performing to an empty hall was very one-sided in many ways,” Kahl said.
Still, the reception from viewers was positive. The video has accumulated over 350 views, a high for the department’s content.
“I think it went well,” said Moser. “It is answering a deep, soul rooted need we have for live connection with one another. I could palpably feel the length of time that had passed since my last performance and I was unprepared for how much that would affect my mind since I have never been in such a situation before.”
Both Moser and Kahl expressed that livestream performances will likely continue even after it is safe to resume in-person audiences.
For now, the D’Angelo Department of Music has three other livestream faculty recitals scheduled for the Spring 2021 semester, on Feb. 21, March 17 and April 21 at 8 p.m. Support the arts at Mercyhurst and tune in for one or all of these events for free.