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These articles were excerpted from Tapestry, a weekly newsletter that examines the arts and entertainment world in Charlotte and North Carolina.

'Music Is A Way ... To Enjoy The Beautiful Things In Life'

Courtesy Jersey Roche

Among the things that Sarah “Jersey” Roche has learned in the past few weeks are:

  • Her bedroom has the best acoustics at her house, probably because of all the bedding and pillows;
  • She misses her friends at Opera Carolina desperately and can’t wait until they are able to perform together again;
  • Music really does have the power to heal.

Roche hoped she proved at least two of those new discoveries Friday in a special streaming performance onOpera Carolina’s Facebook page.

It was the second in a series of weekly iStream concerts hosted by Opera Carolina and featuring some of the organization’s classical singers from the comfort of their own homes. Replays of the performances can be found on Opera Carolina's YouTube channel.

“Music is always so full of emotion,” Roche said. “I can't tell you the number of times that people have come up to me after they've heard me sing and they can feel the emotion that I'm trying to convey, even if I'm singing in a different language.”

Roche has been performing with Opera Carolina since 2017. She's grateful for the opportunity to share her voice – even if it’s only digitally and without live accompaniment. She was slated to be in Opera Carolina’s performance of “I Dream” in April, but that was postponed when the world was brought to a halt last month with the coronavirus.

The soprano sang some of her favorites Friday – everything from Porgy and Bess’s “Summertime” to showtunes that are more uplifting than the typical opera that she sings.

“A lot of (opera) involves people dying,” Roche said. “It's very strong, very emotional music. It's not always full of perkiness. ... So the pieces that I picked for this Friday are just a little bit happier, they're a little bit lighter, and they happen to all be pieces that have strong significance to me.”

If you were like 36 million others around the globe, you might have tuned in to hear famed tenor Andrea Bocelli perform on YouTube on Easter Sunday, live from the Milan Duomo. That performance helped underscore for Roche how important music is right now, when everyone’s lives have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Credit Courtesy Jersey Roche
Roche performed in Le Nozze di Figaro for Opera Carolina.

“I think it's just helping people to feel emotions that aren't stress or fear right now I think is very significant,” she said. “People are worried about paying their bills, about staying healthy, about their family and loved ones staying healthy. And I think music is a way for us to really kind of step away from all of that and just kind of enjoy the beautiful things in life. Either the beauty of the song itself, the beauty of the voice, the beauty of whatever it is that just gives you that kind of that sense of hope.”

This story originally appeared in our weekly arts and entertainment newsletter, Tapestry. Sign up for it to be delivered straight to your inbox here.  

Jodie Valade has been a Digital News and Engagement Editor for WFAE since 2019. Since moving to Charlotte in 2015, she has worked as a digital content producer for NASCAR.com and a freelance writer for publications ranging from Charlotte magazine to The Athletic to The Washington Post and New York Times. Before that, Jodie was an award-winning sports features and enterprise reporter at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. She also worked at The Dallas Morning News covering the Dallas Mavericks — where she became Mark Cuban's lifelong email pen pal — and at The Kansas City Star. She has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University and a Master of Education from John Carroll University. She is originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan.