Story by Elizabeth Schoof, Editor-in-Chief
Photo courtesy of Variety
Over the course of the last several weeks, we’ve undergone many global changes. COVID-19 has left people all over the world trapped within the confines of their homes. Though some have been practicing social distancing by choice, there are also multiple areas of the world in which it is illegal for citizens to leave their homes unless they are using an essential service such as a doctor’s office or the grocery store. Here in Michigan, we’ve officially been placed under a “Stay-at-Home” order until at least April 13.
The idea behind these orders, especially those that involve legal ramifications, is to limit the in-person interactions that people have with one another. Ideally, this will make it easier to keep track of where people who contract COVID-19 have been. It will also help to limit the number of people who become carriers, because those carrying the virus can be asymptomatic for up to 14 days. If you don’t know that you’re a carrier, and you’re only making a trip to the grocery store once a week, you’re going to infect much fewer people than you would if you were still going to the mall, concerts, etc.
I have been social distancing for three weeks now, and I’ll be continuing to do so until health officials deem it unnecessary. That being said, it definitely has not been simple. It’s very easy to feel disconnected from the rest of the world if you’re at home. It can be difficult to keep yourself entertained and it’s even harder to keep your mind off what’s going on in the world around you. In an effort to take the social media spotlight off COVID-19, musicians and celebrities have begun to do what they can to provide entertainment from home.
There was a group of individuals that put together a widely-criticized cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” but there are others who have also begun to use their extra time to create quality content that can have a direct impact on the world around us. Jennifer Garner and Laura Benanti, two incredible actresses, are hosting a virtual talent show. They posted on Instagram and Twitter, asking students who have had their performances canceled because of COVID-19 to send in videos of themselves performing. Kids have been sending in videos reciting monologues, performing gymnastic routines, playing their instruments, etc. The two wanted to acknowledge the hard work that had been put in to prepare for now-canceled performances, and in sharing the videos on Instagram, provide all those performers with an audience.
Garner has also paired up with actress Amy Adams, Save the Children and No Kid Hungry to create the #SavewithStories program. The goal of #SavewithStories is to provide children who are stuck at home with another form of entertainment while also raising funds to feed children around the world. How does it work? Celebrities are posting videos of themselves reading children’s books on the Instagram account, making the content free and accessible. They encourage viewers to donate whatever they can to Save the Children and No Kid Hungry. The money raised through donations goes towards helping support the schools and community programs that provide children all over the world with the food and resources they need to continue getting an education. The #SavewithStories Instagram can be found here.
One of the best programs that I’ve started following is Global Citizen’s #TogetherAtHome. It started with Chris Martin, the lead singer of Coldplay, hosting an at-home concert via Instagram Live. He took requests from the audience and played a few of his favorite songs by the band. The intent was simply to provide people with a source of entertainment that didn’t involve them leaving their homes. He nominated John Legend, who did a hilarious performance with Chrissy Teigen and their daughter Luna. Though the program started on March 16, a wide variety of artists have participated on Instagram Live every day. Some of my favorite performances so far have been by Niall Horan, Wesley Schultz from the Lumineers, and Jack Johnson. Donations to Global Citizen and The World Health Organization are encouraged through some of these performances, but again, these musicians are putting on free concerts from their living rooms. I think that it’s a great movement. It’s helped to ease the pain that I’ve had from missing several concerts, and I’ve gotten to see people perform live from their living rooms. If someone can sound good playing in their pajamas, then you know they’ll sound even better in concert.
Other musicians have offered alternatives to concerts as well. My absolute favorite performances have come from musicians like Ben Rector and the husband and wife duo Ellie & Drew Holcomb.
Ben Rector’s concert series has a unique premise. His family recently moved into a larger house, but they haven’t sold their old one quite yet. It’s entirely vacant at the moment, so he’s started “Covers from an Empty House.” Each time that he goes to that house to write a few songs and practice, he records himself singing a cover. My favorite by far has been Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.”
Ellie Holcomb, an independent folk artist, and Drew Holcomb, the lead singer of “Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors,” have created “Kitchen Covers.” The couple collaborates on nightly performances of various cover songs. They stand in their kitchen with an acoustic guitar and sing together. My favorite of their performances so far has been Kacey Musgraves’ “Rainbow.”
Times are hard and, while there’s no telling how long we’ll be stuck at home, there is content being produced on a daily basis that can make it all a little bit better. Take a few minutes to go listen to some of these performances. Maybe you’ll be able to hear one of your favorite artists live!
Elizabeth Schoof is a Senior at Aquinas College majoring in English with a Writing Emphasis and Communication. She loves writing, movies, and laughing at her own jokes.
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