A Performing Artist’s Perspective on the Pandemic

Who Ate the Icing?

Photo by Deva Williamson

As we moved on from the initial announcement that we were now living with a worldwide pandemic, we began to realize that live performance was not coming back anytime soon. No more live theater, opera, ballet, festivals, shows, coffeehouse performances, and the list goes on across all art sectors, for the time being – however long that is. No one knows. We’ve all seen the announcements: “We regret to inform you that this year’s festival (concert series, shows, etc.) has been canceled.”

I have many friends in the performing arts community, and needless to say, they have all been hugely impacted. Not to mention the performing arts/music industry as a whole, with lighting technicians, stagehands, and road crews going without pay. As the year progressed, there was a heightened awareness of how vital live performance is to the continuation of creative activities by the artist. And how vital it is to audiences.

I recently asked fellow musicians how they were feeling about the sudden lack of performances. “Are you feeling more creative? Are you spending your extra time practicing, learning new music? Are you writing new material?” More often than not the answer was, “No, not really.” Although I am sure many artists find themselves creating more than ever during this lockdown period, those in the performing arts are experiencing a more acute sense of mild depression and feeling a bit lost and confused. They do not, for the most part, enjoy standing before their phone or other devices to perform to their living room wall. No doubt we need human interaction for energy and inspiration.

I think we’ve all come to realize, as never before, how truly enjoyable it is to go to a live event. To plan for it, to anticipate it, and to actually go about the activity of attending it. To see faces react just like you, to laugh or cry or sit in awe together. There’s some sort of marvelous connection or bond in that. To run into that person that you haven’t seen in ages. It’s all part of the good-for-you, natural medicine of life. Without live performance, it’s as if someone scraped all the icing off this beautiful cake and ate the best part for themselves. We work to provide for ourselves and our families, we buy groceries, cook meals, clean our homes and maintain them. That is the cake. Live events are the icing. It’s what makes the cake taste really good.

So who ate the icing? COVID ate the icing.

But, we haven’t forgotten the recipe. We still know how. For now, we’ll eat our cake without the icing.

Wait and see. Time will tell. Performing artists will find a way out of their slumpity funk. Start gearing up. More icing for everyone is on its way!

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Sunday Morning Concert

I’ve been invited to present a short concert and share my faith at the First Presbyterian Church11100 Spanish Road, Ely, Iowa 52227 in Ely, IA tomorrow morning, February 23. They will be serving breakfast at 8:00 am and the service/concert will start at 9:30 am There is no charge for admission. February 23 is also Masopust (Czech) Sunday, which I am not very familiar with, but I believe it is a celebration just prior to Lent. They describe themselves as “a lively country church with woods & fields, meadows & hills, trees & streams, ground for play & prayer, space to run & rest. We are authentic, not flashy. We invite you! We hope you can join us!”…and so do I! – Carol

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Winter Update

I’m slow to report that “A Carol Christmas” was a smashing success! We all had a great time. Thank you every single audience member! YOU made this concert possible and so much fun! Many thanks and words of praise go to musicians Cameron Sullenberger, Matt Butler (our singing cellist), Jeremiah de la Pena for your hard work and excellence. As I thought about this concert it slowly began to shape itself around December letters. I interspersed a few of my own December letters, many written years ago, into the concert. One was written by my oldest son, Matthew. I even wrote a Christmas song titled “December Letters”.


v1. Another year has passed, December letters come

Telling of the news, The joys and sorrows sung

Christmas cards and letters, With a story all their own

Spreading cheer both far and near, And love from home to home

v2. My letter comes to you, In hopes that you are well

I send you my best wishes, And the Christmas story tell

Every year a blessing, Every year a gift

Every year we ponder once again, What Child is this?

v3. May was graduation, Wedding bells in June

We camped in Colorado, Winter came too soon

Next year we’ll retire, And won’t know what to do

Be sure to stop and see us, If you are passing through


Seasons greetings, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Love is here to stay

Raise a glass of cheer, For a brand New Year

v4. I wish you joy unending, Days of love and light

A year of new beginnings, Of warm and peaceful nights

I wish you health and happiness, I pray you safe and sound

May God bless and keep us everyone, Until next year comes around

Until next year comes around, Until next year comes around

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“A Carol Christmas” Update

I’m happy to announce that we have added another performance of

“A Carol Christmas”.

Performances will now be on December 14 at 8:00 pm and December 15 at 7:00 pm

I hope you can join us!

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“A Carol Christmas”

I’m looking forward to returning to CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids to present “A Carol Christmas” – my second solo Christmas concert. For 19 years, I performed a Christmas concert with the trio known as Tribute – which was Nina Swanson, Kathy Donnelly, and myself. I truly enjoyed those years, the audiences, and the backup musicians who joined us. This year, I will be joined by three talented musicians: Cameron Sullenberger, founder and music director for Cedar Rapids Revival Theatre, on piano and vocals; Matt Butler, a multi-instrumentalist, on cello and vocals; and Jeremiah de la Pena on percussion. I’m excited to present this new instrumental and vocal mix.

DATE: Saturday, December 14, 2019 @ 8:00pm

PLACE: CSPS Hall, 1103 3rd Street SE, Cedar Rapids, IA

Tickets are now on sale. Call 319-364-1580 or go to the link below to get yours!


I hope to see you there to share some Christmas cheer!!! – Carol

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Summerfest 2019

Saturday, June 15 – come join us!

I’m looking forward to being a part of Summerfest 2019 on the beautiful lawns of King of Kings Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids, IA.

It’s an outdoor music festival AND a car show! Now that’s different!

The admission is free and there will be food vendors on site. All you need are your sunglasses, lawn chair, and blankie!

Both cars and guitars will be tuned up and rarin’ to go! See more details below:

Cars and Guitars. Yee-Haw!!

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Believe it or not, it’s spring!!!

What better way to celebrate than going on a little road trip to Spring Green, Wisconsin! I’m heading that way on May 4th to perform at The General Store! Hope you can make it!

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Many Thanks and Apologies

rawpixel-com-247356-unsplashI want to extend my sincere thanks to everyone who came to the Coffeehouse Night performance at Lowe Park on March 2. It was one of the most rewarding performance experiences for me and that was due to the incredible support and kindness of the audience.

I am so grateful for every person who came.

Unfortunately, many people were turned away at the door and not able to get into the concert due to the room capacity being full and the fire code which limits the number of people in the room. Many people stood in the hall or lobby to listen to the performance. For all you folks who were inconvenienced and turned away I want to extend my sincere apologies. One person who was turned away emailed me to ask if I had any other performances in the area. I currently do not, but I am working on seeing how I can make that happen.

Again, my heartfelt thank you to everyone who came out.

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SongDoor Honorable Mention

SongDoor logo

This is great news! Both of the songs I submitted to SongDoor were awarded an Honorable Mention in the SongDoor 2017 International Songwriting Competition! Thanks so much, SongDoor folks!

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