Local musician pens song about pandemic

Hazleton musician Tommy Bruno has performed most weekends over the past 40 years.

“Since I was a kid, it would be a big deal for me if I was off for two weeks,” Bruno said.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Bruno was forced to cancel dozens of gigs he had lined up for his band, Kartune.

“To be off for months, it’s kind of unnerving,” he said.

Fans, too, were upset and asked Bruno to perform live on Facebook like other musicians were doing. Admittedly not a solo performer, he tried to get Kartune together for a virtual show but schedules never clicked.

“So instead of going live, I thought I’d write a song,” he said. “That was kind of like my thing to do for everybody.”

He penned “What We Had,” a song that details his experiences with isolating during the pandemic.

The chorus reads:

“Survive another day / Stuck in here just locked away / So sad / It’s so sad / One day the world was turning ’round / Then it just stopped / Turned upside down / So sad / Cause all I want to have is what I had.”

He mentioned the song on Kartune’s Facebook page, and asked fans to send photos of themselves with the band. He used the pictures — along with news clippings from the Standard-Speaker — to make a video.

“It seems like people like it,” Bruno said. “Some said it made them cry and they can’t wait to see the band again.”

Bruno dedicated the song to his childhood friend, Bobby Karmonick, who passed away in October. Bruno and Karmonick founded the band Strider in 1980 and Kartune in 1990.

“His wife and kids gave me one of his basses. I used the bass for the song,” Bruno said. “It’s also the reason the song ends with only three things: me singing, the piano and the bass.”

A link to the video may be found at http://www.standardspeaker.com.

Kartune will perform a few private shows before a July 3 performance for Hazleton’s annual Independence Day fireworks at City View Park.

Contact the writer: jwhalen@standardspeaker.com; 570-501-3592


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