CONCORD, NH — The new coronavirus pandemic has truly hit musicians hard. Some have found ways to get through it but others have not. Performance, in many ways, is an even more important emotional outlet now than ever before.
Concord, the home of many musicians, is not immune to that. The Sunset Driveway Concert series in the West End, something that started as a few people getting out of their homes and playing for a bit, held their 100th performance last week.
And now another Concord musician, who really misses performing, is going to treat audiences to some tunes and hopefully raise some coin for the ACLU of New Hampshire.
Jonathan Tuzman, a pianist who recently moved to the city about a year ago with his wife, Holly, has been itching to play in front of an audience for a while. But since the COVID-19 pandemic, there is nowhere to play. A veteran of musical theater and piano bars, he and Holly started thinking: Why not have a piano bar night at their house? Why not raise some money for a favorite cause? They did some sound testing and now, it is a go.
Between 6 and 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 2, at 88 N. Spring St., Tuzman will be performing on his grand piano in the living room of his home and piping the music out through speakers and open windows. Chairs will be set up outside on the sidewalk and in their driveway, and people can watch online, too (please respect social distancing and wear a face covering if you’re hanging on North Spring Street though). Attendees and watchers can make requests and he’ll try to play them.
Tuzman’s preference for songs lean toward piano bar fare like Billy Joel, Elton John, and Ben Folds Five. But he will also take a stab at a Disney song or two for the kids or maybe even some classic standards or show tunes.
“My list of standards is almost as long as my list of pop songs,” he said, during a discussion about the Rat Pack, growing up listening to Frank Sinatra with his father, and Brian Wilson’s amazing work on “Smile.”
Tuzman has been playing for about three decades, taking piano lessons when he was a boy at home in New Jersey and then, attending University of Miami for musical composition. Up until about a year ago, before moving to New Hampshire, he was a full-time pianist, playing bars, musical theater and cabarets, sometimes hundreds of songs a day.
Gigs, as we all know, can be scarce in the Granite State and now, made even worse with the new coronavirus. So Tuzman works as a software engineer, creating apps, and other things, that he really enjoys, too. But he doesn’t really look at software creation as work.
“I fell madly in love with it and realized that it was a job that was actually a job,” he said. “I would love to do it all day even if it weren’t a job. So, I was fortunate to find something else.”
One of the reasons he got into engineering was an idea Holly came up with: An app for people to see all the songs he played so people who came to see him play could log in, look at the list, and make requests from there.
Still, for Tuzman, it’s about music and performing. He said, while practicing at his home, people will walk by and sometimes stop and listen and it puts a smile on his face. Organizing something like an official concert, from your music space, for others to listen to, is another way of making himself and people who may swing by North Spring Street on Thursday night happy.
For more information about the fundraiser, a list of potential songs to request, to watch the event, or learn how to make a donation to the ACLU of New Hampshire, visit Tuzman’s Facebook event link.
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This article originally appeared on the Concord Patch