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'Put on a happy face': Newmarket musicians' driveway concerts bring pandemic cheer

The duo are inviting other local performers to join them as they take their show to seniors who have been cooped up at home

"COVID is going to clear up, put on a happy face. Wash up your hands and cheer up, put on a happy face. Wear that mask, prevent a tragedy, put on a happy face ..."

To the uplifting beat of Put on a Happy Face from the musical Bye Bye Birdie, two Newmarket musicians have penned a song that's spreading cheer with their driveway concerts during the pandemic. 

Friends Saundra Arnold, a retired senior educator, and Michael Wasylenky have been performing outdoors for their neighbours for several weeks.

"People sit on their lawns and social distance and sing and listen to our music," said Arnold. "We're having fun, too."

The concerts are also drawing some of her talented neighbours to the "stage" to sing and play their instruments. 

After seeing the positive impact of their street performances, Arnold said she and Wasylenky would like to take their show on the road for local seniors, many of whom have been isolated in their homes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two are members of the Newmarket group the String Alongs, which has paused its performances during the pandemic. 

They are inviting other musicians to join the group she is calling Serenade a Senior, which will travel to any senior's house in Newmarket and perform a free concert outside.

If you would like to book a performance — which will abide by physical distancing requirements — or join the performers, send Saundra Arnold an email at saundra.arnold51@gmail.com.




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