The sounds of Agnes Gottschewski’s violin echoed down her Pasadena street on Saturday, as has become a semi-regular weekly neighborhood tradition.
The professional musician, who plays with the Costa Mesa-based Pacific Symphony and serves as assistant concertmaster with the Long Beach Symphony, said she has had extra time on her hands since the COVID-19 pandemic brought a halt to symphony concerts, so she’s decided to share her love of song with her neighbors.
“All my concerts got canceled because of COVID-19, and that was at the end of March,” she said. “And so all of a sudden I found myself with nothing to do. And so I figured I’d just go out on my porch and play a little bit for my neighbors. So I did that once and everybody loved it.”
Since then, it’s become “pretty much a weekly occurrence,” she said of the intimate neighborhood concerts. She’s also found accompaniment.
“One of my neighbors sings and plays guitar,” she said. “So we try to do it on days where we can both perform.”
From classical pieces to Disney themes, “I try to make my programs a little bit varied so that there’s something there for everybody,” Gottschewski said.
Gottschewski said neighbors learn of the impromptu shows either by them happening or with a flurry of text messages spread among neighbors to announce when the concerts are starting. She added that she tries to make sure the events stay small, with no more than a dozen or two socially distanced neighbors.
Neighbor Kim Alvarez has become a regular.
“Our neighborhood just comes around and we wear our masks and we socially distance and we listen to a beautiful, about 30-minute concert,” Alvarez said. “She introduces each of her pieces and knows her composers and music very, very well, and it’s just a great thing.
“It’s beautiful and really, really special, in these times, especially,” Alvarez said. “And she’s got a very big repertoire. She can play anything.”
In addition to the neighbors enjoying the live music, Gottschewski said she has fun providing it.
“It definitely gives me something to work for every week and that’s really enjoyable,” she said.
Last Saturday’s neighborhood recital, her 23rd, happened to fall on international Make Music on The Porch Day, “which means all over the world, people… go out on their porches and play music.”
Gottschewski said she has recently started booking private engagements, such as backyard parties. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.