Red Deer native Marla Torgerson is taking bookings for her Street Songs series this summer. She’s willing to perform live concerts on any residential street in the city. (Contributed photo).

Red Deer native offers to sing in the streets to lift moods, relieve stress, during self-isolation

Marla Torgerson says, ‘there’s nothing more healing than music’

Red Deer’s Marla Torgerson wants to return to her hometown to sing in the streets.

The neo-soul-country-folk singer is offering live music concerts, at a safe distance, to soothe the stress and boredom of COVID-19 isolation.

Torgerson said she knows, from a powerful mid-March sing-along she led with weary ex-pats at London’s Heathrow Airport, that music can unite people and release suppressed emotions.

“We have such amazing music in this county, and it’s like a balm. There’s nothing more healing than music.”

A week before the airport experience, Torgerson had been in Spain, writing her one-woman show, Sinner.

She was on her way to a Seville coffee shop on March 12, when suddenly, shutters were being pulled down on every business along the way.

“Restaurant owners were starting to pull the furniture in, the streets were being emptied out,” she recalled. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

Torgerson’s alarm grew after an English speaker told her Spain’s prime minister had just made a televised emergency address. All businesses were ordered to close by 5 p.m. to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

And everyone in that region of Spain was ordered to stay home, except for essential trips to the grocery store or pharmacy.

Thus began six days of “dystopia.”

Torgerson recalled seeing armed soldiers patrolling the streets, questioning anyone who ventured outdoors.

“It was terrifying. I was all by myself,” she recalled — with two weeks to go until her return flight to Canada.

Torgerson spent all her waking hours trying to book an earlier flight home. After three cancellations, she was finally able to get on one of the last international flights out of Spain on March 18.

During a stop-over at London’s Heathrow Airport, dozens of other Canadians had gathered at Torgerson’s gate. “They were coming from Egypt, from all over the world,” she recalled.

“They looked like they’d been through so much, trying to get home…”

When Torgerson spotted a grand piano at the gate, she decided to entertain the group with an impromptu concert of Canadian songs. By the time she wrapped up Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, she noticed most of her audience was in tears.

“We all just sobbed, the 50 of us, standing around the piano with masks on … I felt so grateful to be Canadian,” said Torgerson.

The recording artist, who’s performed internationally, recently completed her 14-day self-isolation at a friend’s condo in Calgary.

She credits her Alberta friends for “coming through” for her, as she had given up her Vancouver apartment before visiting Spain, and had all of her belongings shipped to Toronto, where she was to relocate.

The graduate of Hunting Hills High School and the Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills is remaining in Calgary for now, having had to cancel three planned Toronto shows.

She recently came up with an entrepreneurial idea that could help brighten people’s days during this dull period.

Torgerson is offering to drive to Red Deer with her piano and guitar and sing from any residential street, cul de sac, or parking lot, with listeners in their yards, or a distance away, on lawn chairs. (She said her sound system complies with municipal noise bylaws).

Hour-long concerts cost $150, and can be booked for birthdays, anniversaries — or “donated” to health-care workers, or long-term care homes, she said.

“People in Red Deer are going through a tough time right now, and I’d like to bring what I have back home to reconnect with people in my city,” added Torgerson.

More information is available from

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

COVID-19 scare sees Latvia-bound troops turn around, return to Canada

Those on board face another 14 days in isolation

2 dead, 8 hurt in South Carolina nightclub shooting

Police are searching for two suspects

Ponoka RCMP lay charges following home invasion

33-year-old man who arrived on bicycle is in custody

QUIZ: A celebration of dogs

These are the dog days of summer. How much do you know about dogs?

P.E.I. reports three new COVID-19 cases, including one seniors’ residence employee

CHARLOTETOWN, P.E.I. — Prince Edward Island reported new COVID-19 cases for the… Continue reading

Even pandemic can’t spoil July

July. Finally. It’s seems like the last three weird months have taken… Continue reading

‘You have to show up:’ NDP MP questions virtual attendance of Alberta Tories

NDP MP McPherson says she’s disappointed Tory MPs haven’t been participating in virtual meetings

Flood warning, mandatory evacuation for people in remote Alberta hamlet

A flood warning has been issued for the rain-swollen Smoky River near the Hamlet of Watino

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, Amnesty, sex worker advocates say

‘We need to make sure the existing laws on the books aren’t enforced’

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $25 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $25 million jackpot… Continue reading

At Mount Rushmore, Trump digs deeper into nation’s divisions

MOUNT RUSHMORE NATIONAL MEMORIAL, S.D. — At the foot of Mount Rushmore… Continue reading

Most Read