CEDAR FALLS – Christopher’s Very Happy Band performs for the opening show on the “Local Legends” series, livestreaming from the Gallagher Bluedorn stage at 7 p.m. Thursday. And “very happy” describes how staff at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center feels about the return of the series.
“We’re thrilled,” said Blake Argotsinger, marketing manager. “The idea of ‘Local Legends’ is to celebrate the tremendous talent and the movers and shakers that make Gallagher Bluedorn, and it celebrates the legacies of these artists who performed on our stage over the years.”
“Local Legends” virtual performances are planned through December.
Until the COVID-19 pandemic upended live entertainment venues, the GBPAC had been in the midst of planning its 20th anniversary celebration this fall. “Originally we had a committee working bringing back and booking performers who had started here and gone on to have big careers. When the pandemic hit, that wasn’t going to happen, so we adjusted and began to rethink what local legends really are,” he explained.
Utilizing the recently updated video system in the Great Hall, performers will be live streamed via Facebook and the GBPAC’s YouTube channel. There won’t be an audience in the hall, so viewers are encouraged to share their applause by clicking “likes.” Performers likely will chat during their shows, as well.
“The new system allows us to create high-quality streaming performances and provide the artists with great lighting and a great setting,” said Argotsinger.
Response from musicians has been enthusiastic. Performers have been struggling through the pandemic without venues or live audiences for sharing their work, he noted. “We also have some performers who’ve wanted to play on our stage but haven’t had an opportunity. The interesting thing about the pandemic is that it has caused innovations and more live streaming. People are enjoying it, and it’s another service we can offer.”
He hopes the Thursday night live stream performance will become a weekly ritual for viewers.
Christopher Merz, director of Jazz Band I and jazz studies professor at the University of Northern Iowa, opens the series on Thursday. He’ll perform original jazz music and share the stories behind the music.
Performances can be accessed through gbpac.com, the center’s Facebook page or youtube.com/gallagherbluedorn.
Original story posted at wcfcourier.com.