Rooftop Trombone in the Age of Covid-19

When Malaysia began its nationwide Movement Control Order (lockdown) on 18 March 2020, Don Bowyer committed to streaming live music and bad jokes at 5pm everyday until the lockdown was lifted. The initial series continued for 106 consecutive days, ending on 01 July 2020. The music performed was an eclectic mix of classical, jazz, and popular music.

Several regions of Malaysia went into a Conditional Movement Control Order (quasi-lockdown) again on 14 October 2020, prompting Bowyer to start the Rooftop Trombone shows again, this time at 7pm each day. This second run lasted for 70 consecutive days, ending on 22 December 2020. For this series, Bowyer improvised trombone commentary most nights in response to poetry or images.

The third lockdown, a regional Movement Control Order, lasted for 51 days from 13 January 2021 through 04 March 2021. For the first 14 days of this third series, Bowyer composed a short Lockdown Miniature for solo trombone each day, then performed it that evening. As the lockdown was extended, he continued to perform each evening, but closed the nightly series of new compositions with Lockdown Miniature #14.

The fourth lockdown stretched for 59 days from 06 May through 03 July 2021. The first twelve days of this series were subtitled "Rooftop Trombone goes to he Movies," with Bowyer improvising audio tracks to famous movie scenes. After a run-in with YouTube and Facebook AI censors that did not understand the concept of parody, the series continued through 03 July with a variety of music. Though the lockdown continued, Bowyer had to stop performing after 59 days so he could pack his equipment for a move back to the United States.

Initially streamed through his Facebook page, these videos are now available as a Playlist on YouTube and are collected together on these pages.

Dean of the School of Arts at Sunway University in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Bowyer is an American who has been in Malaysia since December 2016.


Rooftop Trombone v1.0 (106 Days)
18 March – 01 July 2020
Bonus Tracks after Season 1 (2 Days)
02 August 2020 – Hari Raya Haj
23 September 2020 – Memorial

Rooftop Trombone v2.0 (70 Days)
14 October – 22 December 2020
Bonus Track after Season 2 (1 Day)
31 December 2020 – New Year's Eve

Rooftop Trombone v3.0 (51 Days)
13 January – 04 March 2021
Bonus Track after Season 3 (1 Day)
18 March 2021 – One-Year Anniversary

Rooftop Trombone v4.0 (59 Days)
06 May – 03 July 2021

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