New Orleans Music Teacher and Church Worker Performs Concerts to Bring Neighbors Together in Quaratine

New Orleans music teacher Stephanie Screen has been providing nightly concerts for her neighbors — who all keep a safe distance from one another — during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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NEW ORLEANS (BP) — For years, New Orleans music teacher Stephanie Screen has used her violin to comfort those in hospital beds and nursing homes and in moments of grief.

But when COVID-19 forced a city-wide quarantine in New Orleans, Screen wondered what she could do to help.

“I’ll just go sit on the lawn with my violin and see what happens,” Screen decided.

The mini-concert drew neighbors out of their homes to listen — at a safe six-foot distance apart — including one neighbor, age 65, who brought out his banjo to play with her.

Screen decided to make it a nightly event.

By the fourth night, more than 50 neighbors had gathered outside as international friends on four continents watched by social media. Another neighbor, a man Screen had not met previously, walked up with his guitar and joined in.

Screen plays everything from hymns to pop to jazz and classics as the audience makes requests.

A staple of the nightly program is a crowd pleaser — toddlers in the crowd chime in to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” or “Baby Shark.”

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, music is providing a point of contact with her neighbors, many of whom she is meeting for the first time.

“My whole life, I have loved that when things are difficult, if you have a violin, you can do something for people,” Screen explained. “This particular experience has been wonderful.”

‘Ask Jesus to show you how’

The idea of the mini-concert and its success is the Lord’s only, Screen insisted.

“I’m not clever enough to think of these things,” Screen said.

When people tell her they think they are not talented as she is, Screen tells them, “Everybody has a talent. You just need to ask Jesus to show you how to use it.”

As an 18-year-old, Screen had struggled to decide between a call to children’s ministry and a call to music. Then, she realized she could do both.

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Source: Baptist Press