IN MID-MARCH OF 2020—the earliest days of the pandemic, when you could see the lights shutting off all across the country and around the world—it was clear that large gatherings were not going to happen. During the summer, Bravo! Vail Music Festival typically hosts four world-class orchestras, one of them international, with hundreds of musicians and about 60,000 people attending events. When we made the decision to cancel the festival in late April, it was devastating, but early on we said, “You know, we’re in the lemonade business right now. We’re going to figure out how to make lemonade out of this.”
At Bravo! Vail we looked for silver linings. And for me personally, absolutely one of the silver linings was spending time with my father and getting my hands back on the violin. Growing up in New Jersey, I played the violin. I had taken lessons since I was very young, but somewhere in the teenage years it stopped being a priority for me. When I went off to college at Rutgers to study journalism and history, my father, an attorney who had never played an instrument in his life, picked up my violin and started taking lessons; to this day, he plays violin in the Stone Soup Symphony, a community orchestra in Hackettstown. At some point, when he got himself a nicer instrument, he sent me mine. So at the onset of the pandemic, we started doing weekly Zoom violin sessions, playing Irish music and doing FaceTime concerts for our family. It was a nice connection that we kept going all through the lockdown in quarantine.
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