2020: A Look Back on A Brighter Note

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Without getting into an apocalyptic discourse, I think we can all agree that 2020 left a strong imprint. That is not to mention the general climate of ­sociopolitical uncertainty and conflict. Now we are thinking about what 2020 has left us (aside from a proliferation of memes) and whether 2021 will be a year that consigns its predecessor to the “past.”

Nonetheless, the COVID-19 crisis had its salutary aspects. Our Corona Serenades singers discussed these in the series of interviews we did for this project aimed at people most affected by the pandemic.

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With the second wave not over, we still lack hindsight. But it’s interesting to see through their reflections how this pandemic brought about one key thing: time. Time to stop and analyze our lives, time to think about our impact on the planet and the different faces of the human coin, time to reach out to close ones, time to get on with new or old skills, time to go back to essential things or just contemplate the moment.

Here are some variations on the silver lining as expressed by La Scena’s Corona Serenades artists:

Jonelle Sills, Soprano (Canada)

Covid-19 has allowed me to slow down, take care of myself and gain new perspectives in every area of my life.



Bradley Christensen, Baritone (New Zealand)

It has been interesting to see the discussions that are happening surrounding the distribution of artistic creations, not just during this pandemic, but going forward. The conversations on a variety of topics can only be good for this art form.

I have been keeping busy, however. This time in isolation presented me with an opportunity to write a thesis proposal for a doctorate in musical arts, which has since been ­approved. So, lots of reading and writing for me.

Bruno Roy, Baritone (Canada)

Since my partner and I moved to Vancouver ­Island, I often bemoan the fact we live far away from our friends and colleagues in Montreal, Toronto and Frankfurt. Although we are in the midst of a public health crisis it was definitely a silver lining to reconnect with friends more regularly and have the time to catch up via phone calls and video hangouts.

While at home I have also started to study web design (HTML/JavaScript) in addition to discovering a fondness for socially distanced disc golfing.

Philip Kalmanovitch, Baritone (Canada)

The silver lining was: I decided to head home to stay with my parents for the majority of quarantine, so I was able to spend some quality time with them for the first time in years.




Naomi Rogers, Mezzo-soprano (U.K.)

On the upside, I have been exploring how music can be made through technology. It gives me hope that this evolving world may be able to evolve the music industry too, in the most interesting and creative ways.


Anne Marie Sheridan, Soprano (Ireland)

I have learned to be kinder to myself and accept that I can only do so much. I have more time to try some recipes I’ve always wanted to and I’m enjoying the simple things in life a little more.



Valérie Poisson, Soprano (Canada)

With all these upheavals, we must question ourselves in terms of time management and our heritage. Is it really normal to be so exhausted from work that there is little or no energy left for personal activities that provide important learning?

The reduction in working hours in certain areas allows us to deepen our interests and skills. It is very good to encourage artists to support our cultural heritage, but try to understand their passion, and this will allow you to discover a new world and develop another intellectual dimension, less traditional.

Rebecca Louise Dale, Soprano (U.K.)

Time alone to reflect has, curiously, made me feel a closer connection to others and value my relationships far more. I suppose tuning in and ­listening to myself has allowed channels ordinarily ignored to flourish, and it is most profound. I have a greater awareness and ­appreciation of how beautiful Mother Nature really is. I am reminded of this when going for my permitted walk. The vivid colours decorating the trees, the crisp blue sky, the brilliant array of birdsong… it’s as if I’m seeing and hearing everything for the first time.

Rose Naggar-Tremblay, Mezzo-soprano (Canada)

I’m learning to take advantage of the little things in life, and to take care of my immediate surroundings.




Nadine Benjamin, Soprano (U.K.)

It has really made me stop and take a look at my life on a deeper spiritual level and take a look at how I can connect with others. I now do Facebook Live every Monday to ­Friday, which helps keep people connected.


Live performance arts have been most seriously impacted by the repercussions of lockdown. The pandemic year presented us with a reminder of the importance of what we were going to miss as the art venues closed.

We saw shows go online − it was not a time to leave everyone heavy-hearted, after all. It is the nature of art to bring light to life’s dark folds. It is indeed an interesting exploration of technological possibilities as far as performance goes and we are undeniably evolving toward a more and more immersive world. Still, if virtual concerts have tested negative as replacements for live performance, at least we tested them.

This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)


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