April 23, 2020 / 11:00 PM / in a month

Arias in open air as opera singers surprise Washington D.C. area park goers

(Reuters) - Two opera singers have been delighting visitors to Washington, D.C. area parks with strolling duets during the coronavirus lockdown.

Lori Sen, who teaches voice at local colleges, said she and roommate Erica Marie Ferguson, a music student at the University of Maryland and a member of Maryland Opera Studio, had important performances canceled after the pandemic hit the area.

The pair then decided to make music together. Rave reviews from their neighbors prompted the women to take their singing outside.

On a recent afternoon at Buddy Attick Lake Park in Greenbelt, Maryland, the two wandered the paths singing to clusters of walkers and park visitors from a safe distance.

For Ferguson, bringing joy to other people has helped her weather the lockdown, which is in its fifth week in the Washington D.C. area, which includes Maryland and Virgina.

“As we were singing and walking it wasn’t intentionally for anyone else at first, but then people would stop us and say, ‘Thank you so much for singing. It brightened up our day.’”

“The look on people’s faces when they hear classical voices in such a mundane place is very exciting,” Ferguson added.

Their audiences have reacted to the impromptu performances with delight.

“It was very uplifting. Very, very nice. What a great surprise,” said a woman named Ellen who came across the singers as she was walking her dog.

Reporting by Gershon Peaks, Kevin Fogarty, Temis Tormo; Writing by Cynthia Osterman; Editing by Aurora Ellis

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