Usually, approaching the start of each month, it is exciting to set out the upcoming range of engagements to be undertaken by the artists of James Black Management for the monthly website update. However, these unprecedented circumstances mean that opera houses, concerts halls and other places of public music making and entertainment are closed. The absolute priority has to be the health of the nation, but the consequences of such closures are devastating in their impact on all freelance performers as they see months of preparation and projected income vanish.

It has been moving to see the care promoters have taken in their treatment of their freelance employees as they struggle to make decisions whose implementation can have such serious consequences, whilst retaining the survival of the very organisations that will in an uncertain future once again sustain them. It has been equally salutary to experience the dignity and understanding with which artists have accepted these decisions even as their livelihoods vanish in an instance, acutely aware as we all are of the bigger picture.

As we increasingly self-isolate and shield for our own safety, the Arts become ever more important. A book to read, a gallery to virtually visit, music to listen to, radio programmes to hear. World-wide, performing artists are reaching out to offer streaming experiences whether from opera houses, concert halls and theatres or individual postings. I urge you to engage as much as possible with these; let us never forget their importance in our lives.

When we emerge in to a new world, we will relish even more the joy of being able to meet together once again to enjoy the collective magic that the Arts afford.

In the meantime, stay safe.