Pandemic inspires heartfelt music by Waltham singer-songwriter

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By Ed Karvoski Jr., Culture Editor

Linda Marks
Photo/Bob Bond

Waltham – Despite challenges posed by the pandemic restrictions, Linda Marks of Waltham has her heart firmly set on continuing to express herself as a singer-songwriter and pianist. In addition to livestreaming her music on multiple platforms, Marks is recording an album of songs that she composed during the pandemic.

    Concurrently, she’s observing the inescapable relevance of the coronavirus for herself and audiences.

    “Everybody is affected by this,” she said of the pandemic. “I have a whole bunch of friends who have gotten COVID-19. None of them did anything at risk; they were just out in the world. This is not a hoax, this is real.”

Her forthcoming album, titled “Monuments of Love,” is set to be released in 2021. Among its 14 original songs is “Prayers,” which she wrote after learning that her friend, singer-actor Bob DiCicco, was battling COVID-19 on a ventilator in a hospital ICU. His 43-day hospitalization began April 12, followed by extensive rehabilitation.

“Bob is the sweetest person you could ever meet and has a gorgeous baritone voice,” she noted. “When I heard that he had COVID-19, I was concerned; but when I heard the degree of it, I was devastated and really scared that I could lose my friend.”

As her lyric conveys, “We’ve never ever had to live through a time like this.”

Linda Marks
Photo/Doug Hammer

Prior to writing the song, the last time when Marks saw DiCicco was in February. He attended the final Music Salon house concert, which she had been hosting monthly at her Waltham home from 2015 until the pandemic restrictions took effect.

Pre-pandemic, the house concerts included a potluck dinner; a presentation by a visual artist, poet or author; an opening set by Marks; and a featured musical act. Now, Marks presents virtual house concerts on “The Music Salon” Facebook group page. The livestreams are done more frequently and attract participants from a broader geographical area.

    “The format is a three-hour block, where six different musicians in all genres are welcome to do a half-an-hour set,” she explained. “There are so many talented musicians.”

Marks also has a residency on the Facebook livestream page “Apocalyptic Open Mic,” described on the site as “a community of musicians dedicated to getting through the COVID-19 crisis with music to make us all a little happier.” She livestreams Tuesdays at 8 p.m.

On Sunday evenings, she presents on her business and personal Facebook pages a solo livestream titled “Songs from the Heart, Meditations for the Heart.” Marks acknowledges the challenge of performing remotely while creating what she calls “an intimate heart-to-heart style with the audience.”

Linda Marks
Photo/Bob Bond

“I’m staring at my iPhone on my upright piano,” she said of her livestream routine. “One thing that’s lovely is that people can make comments along the way. I try to respond to them.”

Marks was pleasantly surprised when DiCicco tuned in to a livestream in July as she was singing “Prayers.”

She excitedly told him, “Bob, I can’t wait to hear you sing. In fact, I look forward to having a livestream with your voice on it!”

Also in July, the Waltham Public Library invited residents to submit visual artwork, poems or music created during the pandemic for its “Quarantine Community Art Project.” Marks’ song “One Human Race” was selected to be part of the multimedia online presentation.

“Songwriters’ lyrics and music are ways that we’re transmuting pain into gold,” Marks said. “Artists connect very deeply to the heart and soul of humanity and find ways of expression for most people who would not have a voice.”

Find more information about Linda Marks at lindamarksmusic.com and facebook.com/lindamarksmusic.

 

“Prayers” 

© 2020 Linda Marks

 

It could be me, it could be you

It could be any one of us

Parents, children too

No one is immune, some are more at risk

We’ve never ever had to live through

A time like this

 

Prayers, hands clasped as one

Asking for healing grace

Sending love

Tears, we don’t know

Will our loved ones survive?

Must we let them go?

 

Just a matter of time, before the beast

Grasps hold of a loved one

Inflicts this damned disease

Masks and gloves and distance, the ambulance arrives

They’re taken from us as we yearn

To be by their side

 

There on the front lines

Nurses and doctors

Working against time

Us, on the phone

Separated, wondering will our loved ones

Die alone?

 

I never could imagine that there’d be a time

I’d lose someone so close and dear

And not get to say goodbye

 

Prayers, hands clasped as one

Asking for healing grace

Sending love

Fears, we can’t know

Must we let them go?

Will our loved ones survive?

Must we let them go?