The Coast News Group
Gunnar Biggs, left, and Bill Bradbury, right, make up MandoBasso. Courtesy photo
Arts & EntertainmentRegion

Longtime North County friends host free, online concert

REGION — If there’s anything that can unite the world during a challenging time — it’s music. At least that’s what Cal State San Marcos music professor Bill Bradbury believes and he shared that belief with others recently in a free, online concert.

Bradbury, alongside longtime friend and Carlsbad resident Gunnar Biggs, came together for a free, online concert streamed by New Village Arts. The duo, who make up the band MandoBasso, performed various tunes beginning with “Stone Soup,” a song about a town that comes together to make soup.

“This is a challenging time for all of us,” said Bradbury, an Emmy Award-winning composer who plays the mandolin. “Social isolation is hard. Music is one of the things that can bring us together as a community, even online.”

The two musicians who have been playing since they were children said they decided to host a virtual concert from Biggs’ porch after being approached by the New Village Arts program. The program recently launched “New Virtual Arts,” featuring a series of concerts to entertain viewers amid the stay-at-home order, Biggs said.

“We had both performed at New Village Arts in the past and wanted to contribute,” said Biggs, who played bass. “This concert was very well received by those who streamed the NVA piece.  At this time, this is the only outlet for live performances. Folks are missing the arts.”

And, the musicians are missing the opportunity to perform for live audiences, said Biggs. “This is the longest period of time I’ve gone without playing live music in 50 years,” Biggs said. “So that has been difficult.”

However, Biggs said he’s finding more time to write music and practice, while Bradbury is still teaching. He also started an online “open mic” for music students using the video service, Zoom.

“(The students) just get together to share music and chat,” Bradbury said.” Music helps create community, even online.”

After the stay-at-home order is lifted, Bradbury said he and Biggs plan to work on their second album. For now, they hope viewers of their online concert find some comfort during a difficult time.

“With this porch concert video we hope to help people feel that we are all in this together and by sharing music we can continue to be connected in a virtual way to support and encourage each other,” Bradbury said. “If we bring smiles to people’s faces and a sense of connection during this challenging time then we have accomplished what we had hoped.”

For more information about MandoBasso, go to To view the concert and others, go to