This Singing Telegram Group Was Born Out Of Pandemic Desperation

A musical couple put themselves to work after COVID-19 shut down most live performance opportunities.

By Laura RiceAugust 16, 2021 12:46 pm, ,

Serafia and her long-term partner Dan Kattan were at “rock bottom” in 2020.

“For so many musicians, we just didn’t know what was going on, when we were going to be able to make a living, how we were going to make a living,” Serafia said.

Good thing for her, Serafia says she thrives when she’s desperate.

“And I saw people saying that their 50th wedding anniversary had just passed and they’re just sitting at home and I was like, ‘we can perform for people still, as long as we’re six feet apart, we can still perform for people,'” Serafia said. “So we just came up with the idea to do those singing telegrams and it literally just took off.”

a man holds a guitar and a woman holds a microphone on a front porchThey created the group Sidewalk Singers. Serafia says they discovered as much as she and Kattan wanted to get back to work, people longed to watch live performances again.

“People were like, ‘yes, please come to our house to sing the song,'” Serafia said. “And we’re even learning people’s special songs. And it’s now just kind of something we do every single day now. And we’re just as busy now as we were at the beginning of the lockdown.”

Serafia and Kattan are based in Los Angeles, but decided to expand their idea to Austin — where they both have roots and lots of musical friends. In both locations, Serafia says a portion of bookings are donated back to the community. The Austin organization they’re working with is Capitol View Arts — which supports musicians and gave her a start in the industry.

“I just hope that, moving forward, people respect the hard work that musicians put into learning music and performing and being at gigs and performing for all of these events,” Serafia said.

She says though Sidewalk Singers was born during the pandemic, she believes it has a life that will extend long after lockdown.

“We’re going to keep going with this as long as people want to be surprised with music, which I think is forever… I like to say it’s better than flowers,” Serafia said.

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