Musicians play from rooftop to spread good cheer and hope in run-up to Easter

Photo: Pavla Kuchtová / Czech Radio

As the coronavirus measures stretch into their second year, artists have been looking for various ways to boost the public morale and spread some good cheer. In the south Bohemian town of České Budějovice members of a local music ensemble climb onto the roof of the local town hall every Wednesday to treat passers-by to a bit of live culture.

Live music in the streets is strictly prohibited, but what’s to stop musicians climbing onto the roof of the local town hall for a concert of 17th century music that the locals can enjoy near and far? The music ensemble of the South Bohemian Theatre cheered the locals up ahead of Christmas by trumpeting Christmas music from the roof-top and are now doing the same ahead of Easter, treating the locals, who are getting increasingly fed up with the restrictions imposed and increasingly depressed by the impacts of the pandemic, to a live concert. The regular Wednesday concerts raise many a smile, with people stopping in their tracks and opening windows to listen to the music. The repertoire was chosen by the head of the opera of the South Bohemian Theater, Tomáš Ondřej Pilař:

Photo: Pavla Kuchtová / Czech Radio

“Even with the toughest restrictions in place, we have this means of spreading a bit of beauty and art among people. On the roof we are not a threat to anyone, but our music can be heard all over town. We are playing four concerts ahead of Easter and the music was chosen with Easter in mind, we wanted to emphasize the spiritual dimension of the holiday and we selected compositions from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, relating to Lent. And not surprisingly, we favoured authors from our region so we are playing compositions by Adam Václav Michna or Václav Holan Rovenský. You know, with the sky above us and the town below us, this feels like more than just a concert – it is like a prayer."

Trombonist Josef Krejčík says the weekly concerts are a great idea and he’s happy to be involved.

Photo: Pavla Kuchtová / Czech Radio

"It's a wonderful feeling finally being able to play live for people again, even in this set up, for just a few people. But hopefully in time we’ll have a bigger audience. We are playing music associated with Lent – several Baroque compositions.“

Linda Burdová who listened to the concert says she takes the dogs out on a walk at this time every Wednesday in order to enjoy the treat.

“It was beautiful, absolutely beautiful, I love it. It's the only live culture that's possible now, so I won't be missing out on a single Wednesday."

You can listen to music from the roof of the České Budějovice town hall every Wednesday at half past one in the afternoon until Easter.