My last gig before the 2020 COVID-19 shutdown: Musicians reflect on a year of silence, lost gigs, new hopes

Lead image for "My Last Gig" package in Sunday Arts on Sunday, March 14

What happens when the unthinkable becomes reality? What do musicians do when the music abruptly stops and their livelihoods vanish, literally overnight, for longer than anyone imagined possible?

A year ago this week, the COVID-19 pandemic brought performers and performances around the globe to a standstill, shuttering venues of all sizes indefinitely. The impact has silenced countless musicians, actors, dancers and artists of all types, along with myriad workers — from stage crew members and lighting operators to security guards and concessionaires — who make live cultural events possible.

In December, we wrote about seven men and women who make the stages come alive — the actors, the dancers, the players who made abrupt exits in mid-March when the coronavirus pandemic shut down theaters across the nation, from Broadway to Balboa Park. In November, we profiled seven San Diego musicians as they grappled with the realities of life during the shutdown and a world turned inside out. In September, we profiled the pandemic stories of 10 stagehands whose now stilled behind-the-scenes work was every bit as vital as the struggling performers whose stories we have been telling for the past year.

Today, nine San Diego musicians reflect on the last gigs they played in 2020 before the shutdown. They share the challenges they have faced over the past year, what was lost and — in some cases — what was unexpectedly gained. Here, in their own words, are the stories behind their last gigs.