For everyone who is missing live music — both right now and anticipating the bleak months ahead — virtual streaming of performances on social media has been a welcome alternative.

Locally, musicians have come together to raise money for other artists, using social media to stream mini-concerts and accepting donations. Other singers and bands are hosting their own concerts online. Watching and giving can show support for musicians unable to work right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But musicians and artists also are helping the community at large. Last week, the Virtual LemonAid show offered a digital Northern New Mexico Festival for COVID-19 relief. If you missed it, bonus tracks will be streamed at 7 p.m. Friday on social media. The original show also will be streamed again at 5 p.m. Friday, a nice lead-up to the bonus offerings.

Twenty percent of the funds raised were to be divided among the artists, while the remaining 80 percent is being split between the All Together New Mexico Fund and the Santa Fe County Connect Fund. As of Wednesday afternoon, some $33,000 had been raised, according to numbers at the Virtual LemonAid page at the Santa Fe Community Foundation.

But fundraisers aren’t all that is happening with online music. In fact, Friday will be a busy time for virtual music presentations.

One of our favorite offerings during these pandemic shows has been the Our Fair New Mexico series presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs through the Museum of International Folk Art’s Facebook page.

This Friday, the popular band Lone Piñon will be performing in the seventh show in this virtual concert series. The group’s traditional Northern New Mexico music is always a crowd-pleaser, an opportunity to see a modern interpretation of our state’s roots music.

While watching online lacks some of the thrill of a live show, there is a bright side. After the performance is done, the shows remain online.

That way, if you missed earlier performances — including ones by Lara Manzanares, Marlon Magdalena and State Historian Rob Martinez — go to the Facebook page. They remain there for people to enjoy, a bonus for everyone still sheltering at home and needing entertainment. We will need the distraction going forward.

This summer, we will all be sadder because the Santa Fe Opera, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and the Santa Fe Bandstand shows have been canceled — rightly — because of the pandemic. We all will miss the music, but there also is an economic loss to the community as these big summer attractions close down.

Jobs are being lost at the organizations, of course, meaning more people underemployed. That is another hard blow for our neighbors and our economy. Also impacting the state and city will be a decrease in visitors who come to New Mexico because of incredible summer music performances.

It’s not just the loss of the internationally famous festivals that will hurt. Losing shows on the bandstand will matter, too. Fewer locals to hear music on the Plaza means less traffic at shops and restaurants downtown.

For now, the new normal involves hearing music online, rather than in person. It’s another way — different, yes — to spread joy. And who doesn’t need joy right about now?

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