MANCHESTER, N.H. – COVID-19 has irrevocably changed the lives of countless millions across the world, including one man who saw the pandemic as an opportunity to pursue his musical dreams.
Before the pandemic, Manchester resident Kevin Horan worked at a printing company, playing with a band from Rhode Island on the side. However, the pandemic shut things down and provided an opportunity to reflect on his passion.
After a gig with his band around St. Patrick’s Day was cancelled, Horan rescheduled it virtually and something just clicked.
“From then on, my creativity kind of blossomed I guess,” said Horan.
By July, he had left his day job and began focusing on his music. He even went on a nationwide tour in spite of the fact that no venues were open along his journey, playing virtual concerts anywhere he could until he hit the Gorge Amphitheatre in Quincy, Washington.
“I just needed to get away,” said Horan. “I asked around on how this could be easy and cheap and hoped it could be something that stood out. Since then, a lot of people told me they hadn’t seen anything like it before.”
Although the trip only took a week, it has become a catalyst for Horan’s new career, which has included virtual and social-distanced instrument lessons as well as additional concerts and even a new Christmas-themed single.
Despite the momentum toward pursuing a life in music he couldn’t find prior to the pandemic, he’s needed unemployment assistance as well as support from his wife’s income to keep going. Still, he’s happier now despite the financial bumps in the road as he pushes himself toward a dream he didn’t feel was possible before.
“It’s definitely a huge, huge leap of faith,” said Horan. “I think believing in my strength in music and being able to share it with others has helped keep me going.”
As with so much else in the world, the pandemic will likely have lasting impacts even after its done and Horan believes the same will be the case for New England’s music scene. He hopes that in-person concerts can eventually return and thinks that they will be welcomed back if venues can survive. However, he also is unsure if restaurants, bars and nearby concert halls can weather the storm.
“I don’t think there’s any way something like this can happen and it doesn’t affect everything in some way,” said Horan. “We’ll need to see if local venues can come out of this, if it gets worse in the spring, I wonder if these places can handle a second hit.”