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What you need to know about COVID-19: August 4, 2020
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Being a talented musician meant April Goulding got a lot of requests to play.
As a young person in her native Gambo, she was often asked to play a song any time she walked into a room that had a piano.
“Now, you know you’re going to have to play a song,” they’d say with a gentle smile.
And, of course April, now living in Laval, Que., would oblige. Playing wasn’t anything new to her. She and her sister would routinely fill the family home with music.
The same went for local churches, school auditoriums, conferences and other venues.
“I was always playing,” said April.
Then, at the age of 20, April stopped singing. A voice major at Memorial University, she switched to a degree in behavioural science, moved to a new province, got married and left music behind.
It was no longer a part of her life and it stayed that way for the next 25 years.
A year and a half ago, April and her husband divorced. Slowly, the woman who had taken to only singing in the shower slowly started bringing music back into her life.
She bought an electric piano and started to teach herself again. The first time April sat at a piano during the COVID-19 pandemic, her fingers fumbled over the keys and her voice shook.
Still, it's like riding a bike, and April found her groove enough that when the coronavirus shut down much of the world last month, she had the confidence to share her gift with people again.
“There was something in the aloneness,” she said. “I really felt driven to sing.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has given people the chance to try new things as they’ve been forced to spend their time inside. It's been about
sharing and discovery.
There have been plenty of musicians hitting their social media feeds with their favourite songs. Others have taken to trying their hand at their nan’s homemade bread recipe.
It hasn’t been a situation without fear, however, and it is that sensation that led April to reconnect with a part of her past.
“The fear drove me back to my comfort zone and what I did as a kid,” she said. “It made me feel, to get things out.
“Playing piano was being in a safe place and it brings back a lot of happy memories.”
She sent her mother, Lynn, the first video she took of herself playing. Lynn replied to that video with a simple message — don’t stop again.
It had been a long time since she had heard her daughter perform. Lynn always loved her daughter’s version of "O Mio Babbino Caro" that she would sing at the annual Kiwanis Music Festival in central Newfoundland.
“I am very happy to see it,” said Lynn. “At least for this period (of her life) she found this piece of herself.
“Music is a wonderful outlet for everything.”
Lynn wasn’t the only person who is happy that April rediscovered the musical side of herself.
Her friends and her boyfriend are flabbergasted that they hadn’t seen this side of her.
Others have chimed in as well. A video of April covering Adele’s "One and Only" posted to Facebook group The Squeezebox was shared 11 times and liked over 200 times.
No one knows when the lockdown regulations around the pandemic will end.
April has no plans to stop singing and sharing her gift as government officials at all levels grapple with that question.
She doubts she’ll ever stop denying that part of herself again, and one thing is for certain now.
That question she always heard walking into a room that had a piano in Gambo will become questions she hears from her friends now.
“It won’t stop now,” said April. “(My singing) was like the Caramilk secret for a long time.
“I’ve come full circle.”
Nicholas Mercer is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering Central Newfoundland for Saltwire Network.