From professional singers serenading passers-by from their balconies to the cacophony of neighbours banging pots every evening to celebrate essential workers, music is bringing people together during the pandemic.
“Music is not just connection, it's also memory,” Professor Maydianne Andrade says. “And despite the challenges and anxieties of this time, it's wonderful to know that some of those memories will be joyous.”
In the second episode of her weekly podcast, The New Normal, Andrade – who is a Canada Research Chair in Integrative Behavioural Ecology and U of T Scarborough’s vice-dean of faculty affairs and equity – introduces listeners to Professor Katherine Larson. The chair of the English department at U of T Scarborough, Larson is also a singer. Her husband, Lawrence Wiliford, is a classical tenor singer and their four-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Lyra, sings and plays violin.
“I have to admit that the way I think of their home is something like a modern version of The Sound of Music, with song erupting at all hours for no reason other than the pure joy of it,” Andrade says.
Listeners will hear Andrade, Larson and Wiliford discuss the importance of the arts and music – and the joys of sharing music with family and friends in a time of physical distancing.
“It is my hope and wish that we all remember those who helped us through this time with their voices, with their instruments, with their spontaneous concerts,” Andrade says, “and remember that the essential work here to buoy our spirits is part of what helped us get through this time.”
The New Normal is created by Andrade in collaboration with a University of Toronto Communications team led by producer Lisa Lightbourn.