UMass Music and Dance Alum Organizes ‘COVID-Stock’ Concerts by Recent Graduates

Ryan Hollander
Ryan Hollander

When Ryan Hollander, a 2017 vocal jazz performance graduate, saw many of his favorite artists presenting live streamed performances during the COVID-19 pandemic, it struck a chord. “I admired the way they were able to adapt and think ahead in order to continue sustain themselves with their craft and their passion in these strange and difficult times,” commented Hollander. “I thought of all the music that I used to hear every day in the halls of the Fine Arts Center, and how great it would be to re-connect with my fellow alumni.” 

The result is COVID-Stock, a rolling series of performances organized by Hollander featuring the talents of over 40 alumni of the UMass Amherst Music and Dance Department. The list includes jazz performers like Matt Twaddle ’19 and Grace McKay ‘19, both recent winners of Student Music Awards from “DownBeat Magazine,” along with other recent graduates performing in a variety of genres from classical and R&B to folk and hip-hop.

The weekend performances, which began March 27 and will continue through April 5, are being broadcast via Facebook Live - the performers are using laptops and smartphones to stream the concerts from their homes or other safe locations, some as far away as Berlin, Jerusalem, and Australia.

Other streamed events taking place later this month include the Tasso and Music Symposium, organized by Assistant Professor of Music History Emiliano Ricciardi, which will take place via Zoom video conference on April 17 to 19. For updates on these and other events, please visit umass.edu/music.