Jim McDonough

Musicians across Iowa are using the internet to reach their fans — and to find new audiences — since many of us are staying in our houses due to the pandemic.

Professional pianist Jim McDonough of Monticello is offering free, live performances at noon twice a week on his Facebook page, drawing thousands of viewers. “Families are finding themselves suddenly at home during the day,” McDonough says. “We had someone viewing on Friday that planned her lunch around this so she could tune in just to have a respite.”

McDonough says he’s done live sessions online before when promoting a tour or a new album, but with the advent of coronavirus and social distancing, he decided to revive the practice.

“As long as people are finding it helpful, I’ll keep doing it throughout this time that we are in this social isolation phase,” he says. “We’ll just call it physical distancing because socially, through things like this, we can really continue having a sense of community.”

During the midday sessions on Tuesdays and Fridays, McDonough interacts with the viewers, taking requests and creating medleys of people’s favorites. “We use movies and we use theatre and the arts in so many ways, it’s the arts that give us the release so we can kind of get lost in those things,” McDonough says, “and we need that now more than ever.”

His noontime performance on March 20th drew some 16,000 views. To see the live sessions, just “Like” and “Follow” the Jim McDonough Music page on Facebook.

(By Janelle Tucker, KMCH, Manchester)