Tunes of Hope

Local musicians come together to raise spirits around the Granite State

See the NH Ukeladies perform “I Will Survive” from their homes on YouTube.

Music has always been good for the soul, and now that’s truer than ever. Even though concerts, performances and festivals have been cancelled, musicians are still finding ways to lift the spirits of their fellow Granite Staters.

Every night at 7 p.m., bagpiper Tom Childs of Berlin performs on the pedestrian bridge over the Androscoggin River to encourage local residents. It also happens to be the time his wife Lisa Vicario begins her shift as a nurse working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in the intensive care unit at Norwood Hospital in Massachusetts. What started as a small gathering has now grown into a community event, where dozens of people (who are adhering to safe social distancing guidelines) gather on both ends of the bridge and give Childs a round of applause as he finishes his last inspirational notes of “Amazing Grace.” Many parked cars along Main Street honk their horns in appreciation too as they enjoy a moment of escape to the emotional bagpipe tunes.

Local groups like The NH Ukeladies are finding ways to adapt to the changing musical climate — like making music from their homes. The Manchester-based group consists of beginners, aspiring musicians who also keep day jobs, and those who’ve made a career in music. The group is sticking to their motto of “spreading smiles wherever they go,” using YouTube to bring the music to their fans. Last week, they grabbed their ukuleles and came together to give an uplifting performance of “I Will Survive.”

Other musicians are taking to Zoom, YouTube and Facebook Live to share their talents with the state on their own platforms or in groups like Facebook’s “NH Music Livestream.” The group is for anyone interested in checking out local musicians like Chris White or Audrey Drake, who are live streaming their sessions in hopes of helping others and themselves “find some peace of mind, sense of community and unity through music and performance.” You can also check out our Quarantine Concerts for an extra sing-and-dance-along either alone or with family, and at the same time help support musicians until we can once again gather at live shows.

Categories: Music & Movies, People