Musicians and other performers have turned stay-at-home conditions during coronavirus into an opportunity for their art. Singers, bands, theaters, even art galleries have taken to live online streams to keep residents entertained -- and to keep generating an income source.
Not all of them.
If you haven’t seen Nicki Park perform since quarantine began, there’s a reason.
The singer-songwriter is a regular around Peoria, appearing at venues like Lucidi Distilling Co.-Fire Station No. 1, 8307 W. Washington St., and Winery 101, 9299 W. Olive Ave., Suite 101. She also was the founding director and principal instructor of her former musical education organization, Northwest Valley Musical Arts, which was located at 8194 W. Dear Valley Road, Suites 106-255.
Since coronavirus, she’s been laying low.
“To be honest, other than the occasional solo gig I’ve had during this time, I took a bit of a break from music,” she said via email July 20. “I didn’t join the bandwagon of performing online every week like many musicians. I’ve also had time to re-strategize the promotion of my EP, ‘STRONGER,’ which is streaming on all platforms.”
Ms. Park had been plenty active before COVID-19 changed all facets of life.
Between running her music business NP Music (nickipark.com), forming an all-80s gimmick band, performing six nights a week plus booking for other musicians and venues, accompanying other performers, teaching students music instruction and playing at a church, the unexpected shutdown gave her sudden time she needed to slow herself down.
“I was so tired and had no time to breathe. My poor dog probably wondered if he still had a momma some days,” she said. “I was able to use this time to re-strategize and to also start developing my newest venture, Eco Artist. Eco Artist is still in the development stages. But with all of this extra time, I’ve been able to think, to take some time for myself, have a very necessary surgery that I wasn’t sure when I was going to have time to do AND heal from. I recently went camping in Colorado. It was my first vacation in a VERY long time that had nothing to do with music. I did come back with broken ribs and a sprained wrist from a bad quad riding accident. It was really scary but the view from the top was gorgeous. It was a much needed getaway.”
Her last full-band gig, with The Nicki Park Band, was March 6. She’s done a few gigs here and there at smaller venues as a solo or duo, but most large venues aren’t hosting music or are shut down altogether.
She hasn’t been idle, though. Not by any means.
Her new position as accompanist as at Gilbert Christian Schools allowed her put together a “virtual choir” video for the school’s middle school choir, since all concerts had been canceled. That led to her being named the campus’ middle school choir director for the 2020-21 academic year.
The position takes her back to her teaching.
The Northwest Valley Musical Arts in Peoria was open for 16 years. Ms. Park still calls it “one of my greatest accomplishments.”
“(It) wasn’t just about teaching students an instrument or how to sing. It was also about offering opportunity to those who really wanted to take music to the next level,” she recalled. “As a young student, I didn’t know how recording studios worked or how to get any further with an instrument other than being in band. Our students all got to have a studio experience and record their songs they’d worked on. They had many recitals but also big performances in the community.”
In addition to her upcoming school year, Ms. Park plans on writing a couple books, recording more EPs, and creating a platform (when venues open up safely) for her to return to her speaking engagements for women’s conferences.