Homegrown Jazz Band Evolution Quartet pianist Cheryl Ann Spencer on the storms of Covid-19
When the pandemic hit in 2020, the enforcement of new social distancing restrictions forced many of us to adapt to the new situation. While most of us had to get used to working from home during the pandemic, things were a little different for Cheryl Ann Spencer and her band, Evolution Quartet, when it came to creating a new album.
Motherhood rekindled her passion for music
Cheryl’s love for music started at a young age, but when it came to career choices, she still chose to enter the world of banking business first.
When she decided to quit her banking career to take care of her children, she also used her free time to study music, rekindling her love for music and jazz. Shortly after, she decided to get serious about music by enrolling at LaSalle Arts College in 2017, where she completed a bachelor’s degree in jazz music. “I knew then that I probably wouldn’t come back to work in banking,” Cheryl says of her decision to pursue her passion for music.
Even at 42, Cheryl’s deep passion for music drove her to pursue her dream of pursuing her next career in jazz. “Life has different seasons and I believe this is the season to pursue my love for music. Motherhood makes you reflect on life, and that’s when the burning passion for the piano and music kicks in. is inflamed,” she continues.
Acting on this passion, Cheryl and her friends decided to start a jazz band, Evolution Quartet in 2019. However, just when things were picking up again, the pandemic hit. This involved getting used to working around various restrictions, from not being able to physically meet to feeling unmotivated.
Releasing an album during the pandemic wasn’t easy, but it became the inspiration For Evolution Quartet
Creating an album during a pandemic is no small feat. Cheryl shares how difficult it was to get used to the various Covid-19 restrictions when it was first implemented. Along with being aware of various social distancing measures, the ability to create music and conduct live performances was also uncertain.
Despite this, the group got through the hardships by constantly encouraging and motivating each other. Having the end goal of creating a new album, Pandemic Blues, also helped.
Rather than seeing the pandemic in a negative light, the band leveraged it as a source of creative inspiration. “The pandemic has meant that many have had to deal with challenges, ranging from financial difficulties to strained relationships. It inspired us to compose music that was not only relatable, but also to serve as a silver lining for others,” she explains.
While creating the album, being able to witness their progress at every practice gave them a boost, and when restrictions eased, they continued to meet each week without fail. Cheryl shares that “despite the restrictions, we felt rejuvenated – we had the vigor to once again strive to be the best. More emotions were also added to our music and after trying different styles, we finally found our unique sound.
How Evolution Quartet found Its silver lining in the middle of the tests
As Cheryl reflects on the past two years, she shares, “The past few years have been a tough time for everyone, even those in the performing arts industry. While it’s good to acknowledge the pain and difficulties experienced, it’s also important to get back on track and focus on our “end goals” in life.
“During this probationary period, use your time to compose music and use Skillsfuture and government grants to upgrade,” shares Cheryl.
As for Evolution Quartet, creating an album related to the pandemic was their goal. The band has since released Pandemic Blues as planned, while also holding a sold-out concert in February 2022 at the Esplanade Recital Hall.
Also Read: From $70,000 Debt to Building Singapore’s #1 Online Home Improvement Media Portal, the Story of Renopedia Founder James Soh
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