With their masks on and their sheet music ready, four members of the Moorpark Symphony Orchestra each took a deep breath before putting on a concert outside of Thousand Oak’s Belmont Village senior living community.
The quartet’s performance, which featured classic rock songs from artists like Stevie Wonder and the Beatles, brought the retirement home’s residents to their feet as they peeked their heads out of their windows and let out cheers from their patios.
“The response was really wonderful from not just the people there, but the staff as well,” said violinist Cyndi Hall, who organized the performance. “With COVID and everything going on, these seniors have been so isolated. . . . The concert brought a little sense of normalcy and a little bit of joy back to their lives.”
The outdoor performance was one of two concerts presented June 21 by Moorpark Symphony’s Make Music Window Serenade Quartet. The shows—at Thousand Oaks’ Belmont Village and Moorpark’s Access TLC— recognized seniors for Father’s Day and celebrated Make Music Day, a worldwide free celebration of music.
“(The orchestra) felt a need to stay connected to our community, and then Make Music Day came along and we had to be part of it since it celebrates everyone coming together and playing together and celebrating music,” Hall said.
Because COVID-19 safety measures prevent the full 75-member orchestra from performing together, a quartet was created to play in parking lots and common spaces at senior living communities.
“I saw that there were window serenades and thought, ‘How fabulous—we can celebrate from a distance,’” Hall said.
At Access TLC, the quartet played one performance outdoors for five seniors.
Audience members were so overjoyed by the concert that they asked the orchestra to return and play jazz or something else they could dance to.
In Thousand Oaks, the quartet played at four locations throughout the Belmont Village property so residents could hear the music and watch from their own rooms.
“It felt good to be playing and performing and to be a part of the Moorpark Symphony getting out there,” Hall said. “Even in the smaller groups, what seems small to us is huge to these seniors.”
The concerts were also special for orchestra members, spurring them to continue their efforts.
“We want to make connections and we want to serve our community,” Hall said. “We’re like a family. We want to do more of this and bring in other members.”
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