Social Distance Serenades

By Richard Mineards   |   April 9, 2020

Santa Barbara classical guitarist Chris Fossek is looking to the Middle Ages, when balladeers roamed the land, to soothe our furrowed brows during these most trying of times.

Chris Fossek’s coronavirus serenade

Chris, who has performed at the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and Rome’s Olympic Stadium, has launched a charming new project, Open Window Serenades.

“As long as we keep our social distancing, we can keep these types of live concerts happening,” says Chris, who is married to former State Street Ballet principal dancer Leila Drake.

For $100 to $350, depending on your budget, Chris, who lived in Italy for many years, and also studied in Spain and Germany, will come to your home and serenade occupants, not to mention a few lucky neighbors – who might care to chip in – from his extensive musical repertoire, be it classical, flamenco, Eastern European folk music, and even rock ‘n’ roll for a 45-minute personal concert.

Having heard him many times over the years, including when he would entertain in the bar at Ty Warner’s Biltmore, I can certainly attest to his abilities.

“I know I am not alone in saying that simple uplifting moments from ‘times before’ are more precious than ever,” says Chris. “I am really inspired to do this. It is very simple. I set up a safe distance from your house, and anyone inside can open a window or sit on the patio with a glass of wine or cup of tea while I serenade you.

“If there are neighbors close by, they can open their windows too. We can all get a taste of that old ‘Happy Hour’ normal for a moment and I get a feeling of giving something meaningful to people, which is a connection I really miss these days. It’s about sharing the unique joy music can bring despite the challenges at present.”

And why not gift a serenade to a friend or loved one to help their spirits too?

Chris can be reached on 805-455-1005 or e-mail

Somber Prediction

Santa Barbara Polo Club patron Tom Barrack has warned that the U.S. commercial mortgage market is on the brink of collapse due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Billionaire Barrack, owner of Michael Jackson’s 2,700-acre Neverland Ranch in Los Olivos and CEO of Colony Capital, says the effect of the virus could dwarf the impacts of the Great Depression.

He predicts a “domino effect’ that will greatly impact the U.S. economy due to the pandemic and the subsequent public health measures taken in response to it causing high performing mortgage loans to decrease in value.

Barrack, 72, a longtime friend of President Donald Trump, warns that if banks and non-bank lenders are not given the flexibility to undertake loan restructuring efforts, loan repayment demands will likely escalate systematically.

“A market collapse of this magnitude would have a catastrophic follow-on effect across the American economy.”


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