By Sue Tiffin
Days into staying at home to stay safe and help prevent the spread ofcoronavirus Brent Coltman a guitar player and musician who regularlyjammed when community could gather had the idea of sharing a video ortwo of the songs he was playing on Facebook. He wasn’t exactly sure howto do that but his nephew Aaron Brown stepped in to help suggestingthat rather than Brent posting to his personal page he launch a publicpage on Facebook so that the general public could join in. Music FromHome was created soon after.
“I posted the very first video I wasplaying for a group of one and by that afternoon we probably had two to 300 people” said Brent.
Five days later more than 1570 people had joined. And now since March 10 the site is followed by more than2600 people – many of them local but some from as far away as theYukon the Maritimes and Europe many of those people noting aconnection to the area.
“Not in a million years not in a millionyears” said Brent from his Minden home when asked if he had expectedthe popularity of the page. “Just my friends my friends and familyposting some of their songs and videos and we’d laugh at them and jokeat them that was the original plan.”
Instead the page has become a place where musicians – amateur or not – are encouraged. Many of thevideos are uploaded by people who don’t perform publicly and arehesitant and humble in their posts but who receive encouraging comments from those watching including the site administrators Brent his wife Annie and nephew Aaron.
“I’m just blown away with how people have responded and so impressed with the local talent” said Brent. “People I grew up with like Kevin Fairey I didn’t even know he sang. I didn’t even know he played guitar and he just lived down the road from me.”
Brent is self-employed and usually has the winter off but joked that beingan administrator on the site – making sure the videos stick to the ruleof being live-recorded or live – is “a full-time job.”
“This justmakes your days go by” he said. “I’ve had probably 30 people callingthe house saying ‘this is incredible we don’t even watch Netflixanymore. We don’t watch the videos during the day we have an earlysupper and we spend the whole evening watching music videos.’”
Brent said the site is beneficial to those who want to see familiar faces and find comfort in the music being shared but also to those who find thecourage to upload videos of original music songs sung in the quiet ofthe front seat of a car and songs that are usually sung alone or withone’s family.
“I’m probably the shyest guitar player in the world”said Brent. “But when I’m sitting on my favourite couch with my guitarand the iPad set up on my music stand and I play a song I’m not playing to anybody. I’m just sitting with my guitar. You don’t get the comments that there’s 1500 people. When you hit post now you’ve got threeMinden arenas listening to you technically you’ve got 1500 peoplesitting in their living room looking at you playing the song butthere’s no pressure when you do the song.”
Brent noted there are also well-known local musicians posting videos.
“It’s like a personal concert in your living room” he said. “They’re in their living room stuck singing a song to you.”
But he also gets a kick out of “the little kids playing a ukulele for grandma and grandpa.”
In a video posted in the group March 31 Annie thanked members for sharing their music with each other.
“You have given us all a warm welcome into your homes and lives” she said. “You have placed us beside you on the couch and put us at your kitchen table. You’ve kept us warm beside your wood stove and let us peek atyou making maple syrup. Everyone has come together like a very largefamily. Isolation is difficult especially anyone suffering from mentalillness or living alone. Music connects us all whether we can playwrite sing listen or heal from it … Please stay safe and look eachafter each other as we are all making memories.”
To listen in or share a tune visit Music From Home on Facebook.