I am a 4th grade teacher, but I am also a musician, specifically a French horn players, or as we refer to ourselves, hornists. Before the pandemic, I was playing in three community groups regularly and subbing in another. Yes, this was really too many for someone with a full-time teaching job, but I do love playing. Once precautions were put into place to prevent virus spread, all of my groups stopped rehearsals and cancelled concerts.
Horn players are resourceful, though. The International Horn Society created an event, Hornists for Heroes, to recognize, support, and honor all the health care workers and essential workers who are continuing to work, often under incredibly stressful conditions. They commissioned a short piece from composer James Naigus that can be played by one, two, or more hornists, and asked horn players around the world to go outside and play it at 7:05 on June 22 in honor of those workers.
My horn group (a group made up of only French horn players) immediately made plans. We ended up with two groups because our membership comes from a wide area of the north, northwest, and west suburbs of Chicago. I was in the north group. Four of gathered in a small gazebo sandwiched between two busy streets in Mundelein. We brought our own stands and chairs and set them up 6 feet apart. We ran through the piece once, and then played our "official" performance at 7:05. The only audience was my husband and the wife of one of the other players. We followed up by playing some horn quartets for fun.
It was meaningful to honor those important healthcare workers. Groups and soloists from all over the world posted their videos on Facebook. It was amazing to see single players, groups of players, and even one person playing an Alpine horn (a very long horn made from wood)!
My little group had such a good time playing, that we agreed to get together about once a week in a backyard to play quartets for fun.
To be with friends, to play some music -- it's a great feeling!