These are hard times for musicians too. So, the street concert the Muziekgebouw held on Monday on Van Meursstraat was a morale booster.
Out-of-the blue, a blue caravan pulled up and musicians spilt out. And, all of a sudden, a small audience was enjoying an almost private concert on Van Meursstraat. The (almost) secret performance was whispered to only the street’s residents. For a handful of passers-by, it was a complete surprise – these Eindhoven musicians on the sidewalk. And that made it even more fun.
The street concert was the Muziekgebouw and the Maandag van Van Meurs Organisation’s (Van Meurs’ Monday) idea. This is a weekly musical event that’s a tribute to the Eindhoven musician, Ad van Meurs, who died in 2017. Its goal – to be heard.
“Just, to bring music to the people again. And I think that’s a fantastic idea”, says musician and Dutch cult hero, Björn van der Doelen. He also performed on Monday. Just like his fellow musicians, Van der Doelen’s going through a quiet time because all performances have been cancelled. It, has, however, not affected him much.
“I like that I have free time every weekend and can spend a lot of time with my girlfriend and kids. And, financially, I can manage, because I have my football pension”. Van der Doelen used to be a professional footballer.
Cellist Mirthe de Jong doesn’t have a football pension. She admits that in the first weeks she couldn’t perform, she didn’t know what to do with herself. Not being allowed or able to do anything was very hard for her. Financially it’s hard too. “I’m a student, so don’t get a government payout. How I’m going to get through the summer is still worrisome, yes,” she says.
‘Not all bad’
The corona crisis means financial misery for musicians. This is confirmed by guitarist Jeroen Kant, who was also part of the street concert. “Luckily I can give internet guitar lessons”, he says. The lack of performances isn’t all bad. He has a boat that needs a lot of work, and it offers “room for reflection”.
Ankie Keultjes, the late Ad van Meurs’ partner, does the Maandag van Van Meurs’ programming. Her work’s also come to a complete standstill. “These Mondays are fantastic evenings with singer-songwriters and great audiences.”
“My work’s ground to a near halt. All I can do now is look toward the latter part of the year. The programming was already done, and we had a lot of acts from America. So now I have to get to work on putting together an alternative programme. With musicians from the Netherlands and Belgium, who can still travel”.
Regardless of how much the random audience in Van Meursstraat appreciated it, another street concert’s by no means guaranteed. The organisers are, for their part, remaining mum. They also want to prevent attracting too many people to such an event.
Editor: Melinda Walraven