The New Normal: Ballard Opera Man’s socially distanced serenades

Opera singer Stephen Wall was teaching students over Zoom at the beginning of the pandemic. Then he turned his east Ballard lawn into a stage to share music with the world.

Since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, opera singer and vocal teacher Stephen Wall has welcomed neighbors to a regular performance on the lawn of his Seattle home in east Ballard. From classic operas to costumed performances for children, Wall sings for regulars in lawn chairs and impromptu visitors, providing a moment of levity during uncertain times. (Sarah Hoffman/Crosscut)

In the uncertain early days of the pandemic, opera singer and vocal teacher Stephen Wall spent hours in his home office with his window cloaked, creating a musical dungeon where he could continue Zoom calls with his opera students. But as isolation overwhelmed him, he remembered that his passion for music came from the privilege of sharing it with the world. So in March, he began stepping outside to perform daily opera concerts from his lawn in east Ballard. These regular shows provide Wall a sense of normalcy and balance absent since the pandemic began. But for his neighbors and the visitors who make pilgrimages from all over the city to see him sing, it's a way to rejoice and come together — even while 6 feet apart.


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