Coronavirus News: Opera singer giving nightly sidewalk concerts in Brooklyn

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Concerts and shows may be canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic, but music is alive and well.

Every night on Hicks Street in Brooklyn Heights, just before the front line workers are applauded at 7 p.m., there's an intimate opera performance by a longtime resident and teacher.

Peter Kendall Clark performs solo sometimes, other times with a friend, always perched on the ledge of Mansion House.

"It is a perfect stage," he said. "It's a courtyard building, the street is narrow, and it has incredible acoustics. It sounds like an amphitheater or something."

He's lived here for 24 years.

"Being an opera singer in an apartment, you're always worried you're bothering your neighbors," he said.

But it's his neighbors who asked him to sing.

"It's so nice to go outside your apartment and sing and have people actually enjoy it and not be annoyed," he said. "I realized how much I missed performing live."

Yes, all of his shows are canceled, but he still teaches at St. Ann's School a couple of blocks away.

"I feel fortunate because I have a teaching life," he said. "For so many of my friends, their livelihood is singing, just singing. It's a disaster. They don't know what they're going to do."

Opera singer Jessica Fishenfeld is in that exact position.

"As a performer, it's easy to get down," she said. "I had so many performances canceled."

But now, they have a community as an audience. Rita Schwartz sits front and center.

"We're a small town here in Brooklyn Heights on Hicks Street," she said. "And I think what he brings is our neighborhood together."

Together, yes, but also safely distant.

"I wanted to be up high enough and I wanted to be able to take off my mask," he said. "Because I was singing through a mask, and every time I'd inhale, the cloth was going in my mouth."

Most watching do wear masks, but you can see the delight in their eyes.

Kendall Clark has sung every night since May 1, even when it drizzles. He knows that right now, this is his starring role.


COVID-19 Help, Information and Resources

New York state
New Jersey

Long Island
Grieving the lost: Tri-State residents who have died

Share your coronavirus story with Eyewitness News
Stimulus check scams and other coronavirus hoaxes
Coronavirus prevention: how clean are your hands?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus
Total count of NYC COVID-19 cases based on patient address

Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.