Suspending a tour that had just started, finding a way to get back to Italy from Spain with the trucks and all the instruments, figuring out how to deal with the quarantine once back home and how to continue with the work. Let’s try to rewind the film, as if it were a movie, and look back at the challenges Gen Verde was facing a year ago.
Amidst pain, uncertainty and fear, we never lost hope or faith in God’s love. “Exactly one year ago today,” recalls Annalisa, “we left Barcelona on a ship. A solution found in 24 hours to return to Loppiano where we live. I think I will never forget that time: there was tiredness, apprehension, incredulity and, increasingly frequent messages from friends who were not well and from our families around the world without the necessary health care to face the pandemic. Everything seemed to collapse and the plans we had made for months or years collapsed quickly too”.
Gen Verde’s story is the story of many of us who had to stop their activities because of this completely unknown pandemic, or who were trying to pick up their lives again having had Covid-19 or those could not say a last farewell to their loved ones. “Thinking of many friends who wrote to us and told us – tells Marita – how alone they felt, made sense of staying home because it was an occasion to meet people from all over the world online, and to bring a spark of hope, despite the inevitable technical challenges.” This was not something airy-fairy, it was all about sharing because “through a cellphone or tablet – Sally explains – we got closer to those who were sick, who were having a hard time breathing, or we were able to encourage young people who were locked down at home for months without the possibility of meeting friends and families.”
So the year unfolded quite differently from other years – without many live concerts – but enriched by many meetings and appointments, which filled Gen Verde’s calendar. “We could say – adds Mileni – that the world came to our home and we shared our stories and put our talents at the service of all. One new venture was to create online tutorials: I taught people how to play one of our most popular songs on the guitar, while Raiveth taught the steps to a dance for another song. We released new songs and are working on others.” It has been a year to reinvent ourselves and give space for creativity like in the case of Alessandra who wrote a monologue, during the first wave of the pandemic, that summarized what many Italians were living through in that period, which unfortunately is still very relevant today.
To sum up, it has been a difficult year, but there were good things too: “we might never have thought of doing a Christmas Concert with simultaneous translations in various languages, and live streaming it on YouTube – tells Colomba – but it has had almost 70,000 visualizations to date. For us it was a special occasion to bear witness that universal fraternity is still possible even during the pandemic.”
And one year later? The concerts around the world are still being postponed and Gen Verde doesn’t know when they will be able to return on stage, but this period remains a precious time for reflection, personal development and creating new things. “We can give you a hint – says Adriana –we are working on a new website and also we’ve focused on developing our social media. I’d say this is almost like a prophetic moment for communication.”
The pandemic has not ended and in some countries the arrival of vaccines seems like a utopia: “it seems fundamental – explains Nancy – to stay close to those who are fragile and suffer the most in this moment: through a song, a message or a call… all of us in Gen Verde want to be beside them and take care of them beyond physical distances. This past year, we’ve learned the true meaning of the word “proximity”: to be close to someone not only physically but with minds and hearts.” It’s a very real challenge for today and that does not leave room for any illusions but calls us to share always more.