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Spalding University stands out in Louisville by offering on-campus and online bachelor's in financial planning, master's in business communication - GlobeNewswire

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Spalding University stands out in Louisville by offering on-campus and online bachelor's in financial planning, master's in business communication - GlobeNewswire Spalding University stands out in Louisville by offering on-campus and online bachelor's in financial planning, master's in business communication - GlobeNewswire Northwood University unveils new graduate certificate program - Midland Daily News Mesa Community College veterinary technology students training in CPR - Your Valley University of Tennessee: All you need to know about Engineering Management - Study International News Spalding University stands out in Louisville by offering on-campus and online bachelor's in financial planning, master's in business communication - GlobeNewswire Posted: 21 Jan 2021 11:38 AM PST LOUISVILLE, Kentucky, Jan. 21, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- During a time of uncertainty

Experimental art radio show to broadcast downtown Paducah - messenger-inquirer

Experimental art radio show to broadcast downtown Paducah - messenger-inquirer


Experimental art radio show to broadcast downtown Paducah - messenger-inquirer

Posted: 26 Nov 2020 10:00 PM PST

An experimental art radio show is invading downtown Saturday.

It's not War of the Worlds, it's Slo Radio, a graduate student art collective stemming directly from a class at Southern Illinois University — Carbondale taught by Professor Jay Needham.

Produced in partnership with West Kentucky Community and Technical College's Clemens Fine Arts Center, the Slo Radio Paducah program will entertain listeners with a "live never heard before combination of music, sound and words that for me is kind of a hybrid of musical performance, performance of literature and live theatre," Needham told the Sun Wednesday.

"Slo Radio is way to think about what's normally conceived of as a commercial sphere of radio listening and actually open that up beyond the confines of block-formatted radio into a more open form of expression that includes reading and writing, music making and sound creation in a longer form," he said. "Some of that also recalls or brings in histories and practices of live poetry and improvisation, 20th century music, and radio art among others."

The group will be broadcasting live out of the Yeiser Art Center in downtown Paducah starting at 7 p.m. on a micro FM signal that will reach a few blocks. Needham thinks the program should last about 90 minutes. The frequency is yet to be determined, but it will be announced on the Clemens Fine Arts Center's social media channels and on a livestream online for anyone interested in tuning in from outside the signal's range via www.twitch.tv/sloradio.

Todd Birdsong, the executive director of the Clemens Fine Arts Center, thinks that sound can often be overlooked as an art form in Paducah and hopes that "whoever is tuning in focuses because it's not just background noise. It's a specific performance of something that's different and unique that I think a lot of folks in this area may not have experienced. I would hope that they take this opportunity to get out of their circle and broaden their experience of what art can be."

Local writers Amelia Martens and Levi McDuffee will be joining the collective to give the performance some "Paducah flavor," the professor noted. In essence, listeners will be hearing a wandering, creative mishmash of continuous audio art mixing together improvised music, literature, poetry, voices and sound

"You could hear anything from standard musical ideas, ambient soundscapes, poetic expression, dissonant harmonies or even just industrial noise — radio static," Needham explained. "I think the objective of the collective is to consider sound in general as a part of an aural set of tools … so in this way sound becomes part of a larger cultural symphony."

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Birdsong has collaborated with Needham on projects in the past and the professor has been a guest artist at the CFAC previously. Discussions between the two over the past year served as the catalyst for this new project which serves Birdsong's further goal of working with more local and regional arts organizations.

"This really made sense to me to do something like this where we could still get together and do something as a small group and create something that we can put out to a larger group without having to bend or break the rules of social distancing, to still be able to reach people in the public and be able to share some creativity as a part of this project," said Birdsong. "Because I'm a performing arts space I'm really looking for opportunities to connect with groups like the Yeiser — which is a visual arts space — to try to bring those two things together.

"This is a way to creatively navigate these strange times."

Needham is hoping that people will want to experience the program through "their seldom-used car radios" by tuning into the program from the central downtown parking lot. He thinks this could be an interesting way to safely gather an audience in the time of COVID-19.

"(Parking lots are) really sort of vacuous or empty spaces," the professor said. "We don't think of them as being for anything other than that, but they take up a lot of space in our environment and usually tend to be centrally located … so they're handy places to use or think of as other places than just to perhaps park cars."

In the end, Needham is just hoping that listeners "bring an open set of ears."

"For the most part in these times I think people are looking for some new voices or perhaps things they haven't heard. They're looking for voices of expression, words of wisdom, the sound of calm … perhaps a kind of a sonic reason, a sense of resolve. Things like Slo Radio have the same objective as a lot of art, which is just to make sense of life."

TUSK CALENDAR: Who's playing and what's happening - Tuscaloosa News

Posted: 26 Nov 2020 10:03 AM PST

Mark Cobb   | The Tuscaloosa News

If readers should know of any virtual concerts or other entertainment underway, please share to mark.cobb@tuscaloosanews.com, so we can help spread the word.

LOCAL MUSIC

THURSDAY

Lance Dubroc: 6-9 p.m., Lookout Rooftop Bar, Hotel Indigo, 111 Greensboro Ave. South Louisiana musician, one of the featured artists at the 2019 Black Warrior Songwriters Festival.

FRIDAY

Microwave Dave and the Nukes: 7-10 p.m., Lookout Rooftop Bar, Hotel Indigo, 111 Greensboro Ave. Electric blues.

ONLINE EVENTS

TUESDAY

Virtual Acting Classes -- "Owning the Monologue": 7 p.m., online through www.theatretusc.com. Theatre Tuscaloosa is partnering with professional actor Kenyatta "YaYa" Browne for a series of online classes. Each is designed to be a standalone session, so choose to drop in for only one, or opt for multiple classes, depending on needs and interest. Cost per class is $10 general, and $5 for students K-12 or college. Classes are separated into two age groups: youth, ages 12-16; and adult, ages 17 and up. For each class, youth sessions will be 7-7:30 p.m., and adult 7:45-8:30 p.m. Classes are capped at eight participants each. For more, see www.theatretusc.com/get-involved/workshops/virtual-acting-classes.

ONGOING THROUGH DEC. 31

Kentuck Virtual Marketplace: The 49th Kentuck Festival of the Arts, intended for mid-October, has been canceled, due to the coronavirus pandemic. To assist artists who won't be selling work at this or other festivals in 2020, Kentuck is hosting a Kentuck Festival Virtual Marketplace through www.kentuck.org. About 180 artists will present works for viewing and sale, with a small percentage of each purchase going to the Kentuck Festival Forever Fund. Artists will also be demonstrating and talking about their works. The virtual marketplace will remain open through 11:59 p.m. Dec. 31.

LOCAL EVENTS

THURSDAY

Chuck's Fish Thanksgiving feast: Annual free lunch event will be to-go only for 2020, with drive-through or walk in, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Chuck's Fish, 508 Greensboro Ave., downtown Tuscaloosa. Free, though donations for Habitat for Humanity Tuscaloosa will be accepted. 205-248-9370. www.chucksfish.com.

ONGOING-JAN. 18

Holidays on the River: Outdoor ice-skating with other related events returning for 2020, at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater. Admission to the venue is free, but skating, including skate rentals, costs $15 per session, or $85 for a season pass. Passes will be $12 for military and groups; Tuesdays will be family nights, when passes are $12. Discounts for military or groups. Daily schedules will vary; see more at www.holidaysontheriver.com.

ONGOING-EARLY JANUARY

Tinsel Trail: Free exhibit of more than 150 decorated trees, along the Riverwalk from the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater to the River Market. Each tree is sponsored and decorated by a local business, organization, group or individual, usually designed with themes echoing a service or business.

UPCOMING

DEC. 3-5: Annual 8 by 8 Holiday Art Show, 5-7 p.m. each night, Drish House. To keep social distancing, entry will be staggered; sign up for admission at www.eightxeight.art/tickets. Early admission tickets will include a $2 donation to help defray costs. More than 40 artists will display work for sale in drawing, painting, sculpture, mixed media, fiber and photography. There will be numerous 8-inch by 8-inch works, all $88 each, and other sizes on display at different prices. A virtual art sale will begin at 5 p.m. Dec. 5 for those who don't feel comfortable attending in person. All sale moneys go directly to the artists. www.eightxeight.art.

DEC. 4: Christmas tree lighting at the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse, free, 6 p.m. Theatre Tuscaloosa will perform music. Guests must wear a face covering and practice social distancing. Following the tree-lighting ceremony, Theatre Tuscaloosa will present "Lights Out for Christmas in Cootah County: A Country (COVID) Christmas Carol," 7:30 p.m. at Government Plaza, an original play by UA Theatre and Dance graduate Stephen Tyler Davis, a comedic contemporary adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" set in the South.

DEC. 6: "Tis the Season: An Afternoon of Solos and Duets by Tuscaloosa Children's Theatre," 2 p.m., Buddy Powell Pavilion. Free, though donations to TCT will be accepted, and Toys for Tots will have a donation box for new, unwrapped toys. Face coverings required. Attendance will be limited by social distancing, so patrons are asked to reserve a space at www.eventbrite.com/e/tis-the-season-an-afternoon-of-solos-and-duets-by-tct-tickets-128352903991.

DEC. 12: First Second Saturday Outdoor Music Series, planned monthly event hosted by PARA, beginning at 1 p.m., Buddy Powell Pavilion, 4205 Northridge Road, Tuscaloosa. Social distancing will be in place, so bring your own blankets and chairs. Food truck will be on site. Free admission. Music begins at 1 p.m. with MHC and The Biscuit Cannons; One Horrible Family at 2; and KST, Kenny Smitherman, Steve Jones and Tommy Gardiner, at 3. 

DEC. 12: Alabama Choir School Winter Concert, 4 p.m., Capitol Park. www.alachoirschool.org.

DEC. 17-23: Alabama Ballet performing Balanchine's "The Nutcracker," BJCC Concert Hall, Birmingham. Tickets $30 and up; times and days vary. www.bjcc.org.

North of Boston arts and entertainment roundup - The Daily News of Newburyport

Posted: 26 Nov 2020 01:00 AM PST

Join Newburyport library for numbers game

The Newburyport Public Library will be hosting a game of Zoom bingo on Thursday, Dec. 3, at 2:30 p.m. All ages are welcome.

Free 5-by-5 bingo cards will be available to pick up on the patio at 94 State St. up to one week before the program. They can also be printed online.

Book prizes will be awarded to the winners.

To register, visit newburyportpl.org/events/12-2020 or call 978-465-4428, ext. 242. A link will be sent to all participants the day before.

The event will continue on the first Thursday of each month, with bingo played in even months and Scattergories in odd months.

Amesbury author's books to be explored

The Amesbury Carriage Museum is launching a new book club, "Mystery & History," on Wednesday, Dec. 9.

Participants will read and discuss the first five books in the Quaker Midwife Mystery Series by Amesbury resident and award-winning author Edith Maxwell. The novels take place in Amesbury in the late 1880s and incorporate authentic events, covering the social and political issues of the time.

The club will meet online, via Zoom, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month, through April. Each session will have a short introduction by an expert guest, then break into two groups of 10 participants for open discussion guided by a moderator.

The first book is "Delivering the Truth," and Maxwell will be the guest.  

The club is free and open to all museum members. To become a member, visit amesburycarriagemuseum.org/membership. Prices start at $25. To register for the book club, visit amesburycarriagemuseum.org/events

Black-and-white exhibit at Paula Estey Gallery

A solo exhibit by artist Cynthia August is on display through the month of November at the Paula Estey Gallery and Center for Art and Activism.

"The Privilege of Breath" features black-and-white photography that invokes nature, heroes and goddesses.

"I'm not ready to bring color back," August said in an artist statement. "The show is in black and white out of respect for those who have struggled to breathe this year, and to remind us that there is still much work to be done to heal the planet and its people."

The gallery, located at 3 Harris St., Newburyport, is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. and by appointment. For more information, call 978-376-4746 or visit paulaesteygallery.com.

Log on for a book club discussion

The Rowley Book Club is reading "The Bird King" by G. Willow Wilson and will have a virtual discussion on Thursday, Dec. 3, at 6:30 p.m.

The fantasy novel asks the question, "What would you risk for freedom?" Fatima is a concubine in the royal court of the last emirate in Muslim Spain. Her best friend, Hassan, the palace map-maker, has a secret: He can bend reality through his drawing. When the new Spanish monarchy takes over, they see his gift as sorcery and a threat to their rule, forcing the pair on a magical journey in search of safety and freedom.

The Rowley Public Library has copies of the book available, so call 978-948-2850 to arrange to pick one up. To sign up for the Zoom discussion, email info@rowleylibrary.org

The book club meets on the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m., and future titles are listed on the website, rowleylibrary.org

Guests welcome again at Newburyport gallery

Newburyport's Sweethaven Gallery is once again open to the public.

The 25L Inn St. space is open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, only three people will be allowed in at a time, and masks and temperature checks are required.

The featured exhibit is "Presence: Witnessing the Voice of Nature" by Lisa Hoag. The award-winning artist, photographer and designer lives in western Massachusetts and studied fine art at Parsons School of Design in New York and art and design in an arts residency in Paris for two years.

Also on display and for sale are works by Ezra Sesto, Vincent Lemonnier Ferro, Don Williams, gallery owner Greg Nikas, C. Max Schenk, Paul Neverette, Sandra Swan, Chris Sava and Jacques Hnizdovsky.

The gallery also now offers an online shopping cart, available to browse at sweethavengallerystore.com.

Game show fun at 'Balderdash Academy'

Newburyport High School's facade serves as the inspiration for Balderdash Academy, a fictional private boarding school that is the setting for a new online comedy panel game show.

Originally conceived by co-founders Bob LeBlanc of Newburyport and Steve Corning of Maine as a live variety show, "Balderdash Academy" was adapted to an online format in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

New episodes are posted regularly on YouTube and feature a mix of interview, chat, improv and game show with an emphasis on lighthearted comedy. The storyline follows faculty members as they talk to guests and compete for the coveted Balderdash Academy Reigning Champion banner.

To check out the show and for more information, visit balderdashacademy.com.

Salem State presents online performances 

Violinist and educator Vijay Gupta will host "The Medicine of Music" on Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m.

The 75-minute virtual conversation, violin performance and Q&A are part of the Salem State Arts Speakers Series. Gupta explores the connection between music and mental health, explaining why music's redemptive power may hold more potential than we realize.

Gupta is the founder of Street Symphony, a musical advocacy program that empowers citizen-musicians by engaging with communities experiencing extreme poverty, incarceration and homelessness. He is a passionate advocate for artistic voices at the center of social justice.

The event is free, but registration is required at salemstate.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_eu5AAqGUQpuAXWPWPSu73g.

Salem State is also presenting "The Long Christmas Ride Home," a play by Paula Vogel, virtually from Dec. 3 through 10.

Past, present and future collide on a snowy Christmas Eve for a troubled family of five in the show, which was filmed by the theater department in the Sophia Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts.

Tickets are $10 for the general public and free for students. Visit salemstatetickets.com to purchase. 

'Ladies Play the Blues' for Me&Thee

The Me&Thee Coffeehouse in Marblehead is presenting an evening of blues music virtually on Friday, Nov. 27, at 8 p.m.

"Ladies Play the Blues" will feature Danielle Miraglia and Suzie Vinnick and can be viewed via Facebook or YouTube.

Miraglia's latest album, "Bright Shining Stars," has gone to No. 15 on the Billboard Blues Charts. Released in October, it's a solo acoustic folk/blues record that highlights the one-woman-band sound she's honed over the years. It includes originals, as well as songs she's been covering at live shows, paying homage to influences like Big Bill Broonzy, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and more.

Vinnick was awarded the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival 2019 Special Recognition Award and was nominated for a 2018 Canadian Folk Music Award. She is also a 10-time winner of the Maple Blues Award for songwriting, female vocalist, acoustic act and more. Her latest release, "Shake the Love Around," contains a versatile mix of songs.

The suggested donation for the show is $20. For the links and more information, visit meandthee.org.

Venerable Beverly theater marks 100 years

The Cabot will host a free virtual celebration for its 100th anniversary on Thursday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m.

"Lights. Camera. Cabot. Here's to the Next 100" will feature a livestreamed mix of regionally and nationally known A-list musicians, some of whom will perform on The Cabot stage in Beverly.

Among the performers announced so far are James Taylor, Jon Butcher, Paula Cole, Martin Sexton, Grace Potter, Rodriguez, John Hiatt, Raul Malo, Chris Thile, Hot Tuna and Fantastic Negrito.

The celebration will kick off by unveiling the newly renovated main lobby, which will be named after Steve Dodge, The Cabot's chairman emeritus who died in January 2019. Soward said the lobby hasn't been publicly seen in more than 50 years.

The program will also pay homage to the five founders who brought The Cabot back to life in 2014 after it had been for sale for over a year: Henry Bertolon, Bill Howard, Rich Marino, Thad Siemasko and Paul Van Ness.

Attendees will have the option to purchase a specialty cocktail kit, which will be delivered to their homes. Each kit has been named after one of the founders and includes both ingredients and glassware. A mocktail offering will also be available.

To RSVP or for more information, visit thecabot.org/cabot100celebration.

Light show to brighten up the holidays

A drive-through holiday lights spectacular is now open at Crescent Farms in Haverhill.

The North Shore Holiday Light Show features dozens of never-before-seen displays, some towering as tall as three stories and spanning more than 50 feet in length.

Presented by BOLD Media, the show is synchronized with holiday music being broadcast over FM radio. It takes about 20-25 minutes to drive through.

The show will remain open on select dates through Dec. 30. A full schedule is available at northshorelightshow.com, where tickets can be purchased for $23 per car.

Tickets may also be available at the gate for $25.

Cabot presents virtual children's programs

The "Kids at The Cabot" children's series presented by The Cabot in Beverly has returned in a virtual format.

All performances will start at 10:30 a.m. and are free, sponsored by New England Biolabs, but donations are welcome.

"While we're sad we can't host our community's children and their families at the theater, we're still thrilled to be able to provide local family-friendly programming virtually," said J. Casey Soward, executive director of The Cabot.

The lineup includes Bill Harley on Dec. 12, Vanessa Trien on Jan. 9, Karen K and the Jitterbugs on Feb. 13, The Gottabees on March 6, and Stacey Peasley on April 10. 

For more information, including streaming links on the show dates, visit thecabot.org

Take in virtual symphony concerts

Cape Ann Symphony has announced a virtual concert series featuring its musicians under the direction of conductor Yoichi Udagawa. The inaugural concert, "A Lovely Presentation of Chamber Music," is available to view online now.

The program includes "Mother and Child" by William Grant Still, known as the "dean of Afro-American composers"; Mozart's "Divertimento, K. 136"; excerpts from Danish String Quartet's "Wood Works," which are arrangements of Scandinavian folk songs; and Holst's "St. Paul Suite."

This concert features concertmaster David Rubin, violin; Kett Chuan Lee, principal cello; Oksana Gorokhovskiy, principal second violin; and Anna Stromer, principal viola.

The virtual concert is viewable online for $20; purchase at www.capeannsymphony.org or by calling 978-281-0543. The purchase provides audience members with a video download link, which can be viewed at one's convenience and does not expire.

"We are truly excited about the quality of the concert and eager to connect with our audience virtually," said Fran White, Cape Ann Symphony board president. "We hope you enjoy our first virtual concert and look forward to sharing more details on upcoming concerts soon. We have already started to plan for a second virtual performance for the holidays." 

A wealth of American art to discover at the Addison

The Addison Gallery of American Art on the campus of Phillips Academy in Andover has reopened to the public.

Hours will be Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.

New safety guidelines are in place, including mandatory reservations and mask wearing. Admission is still free, but advance tickets must be purchased at eventbrite.com/e/addison-gallery-of-american-art-admission-tickets-118662844763.

The gallery is said to have one of the most comprehensive collections of American art in the world, including more than 23,000 objects spanning the 18th century to the present.

All of those items can now be viewed at the museum's website by searching for particular works, artists, themes or periods. There are suggestions at the website for art-related projects and activities that families can do together and a link to virtual tours of 10 great museums around the world.

In addition, the exhibits currently on display at the Addison can be viewed in a virtual tour on the website, where visitors can also watch interviews with museum staff.

Check it out at addison.andover.edu.   

Rockport gallery brings Paris home

"Paris Redeemed," a virtual art exhibit presented by Decouvert Fine Art in Rockport, is available to view through the end of the year.

Gallery owners Steven Law and Donald Stroud had planned to bring their exhibit "Grace in Nature and Faith" to Paris after its successful showing at Master Drawings New York. But when they began to pack in the spring for the exhibition at Marty de Cambiaire Fine Art on Place Vendome, the pandemic hit and began closing down events.

"It was an opportunity of a lifetime," Law said. "Then the world came to a standstill as the pandemic intensified, and we made a decision not to go and temporarily closed our gallery until a vaccine is available. We do not have the square footage to allow for social distancing.

"There has been so much loss and suffering around the world," he said. "Like so many in businesses, we are between what has been and what will be. But an idea occurred to us that if beauty and art have a capacity to help those that are suffering, we have an obligation to make our exhibition available virtually, as a meditation of sorts."

Hence, the title of the virtual exhibit is "Paris Redeemed." The exhibit is set to Handel's "Dixit Dominus," which was composed in Italy, a source of inspiration for artists throughout the centuries.

"We wish healing, hope, inspiration, and solace for all," Law said. "If folks wish to learn a bit about the history of the art, they can scroll down the page after the slideshow is finished. Curiosity will lead them where it will."

To view the exhibit, visit the "Paris Redeemed" page at decouvertfineart.com.

Flying Horse exhibit open with precautions

The 11th annual Flying Horse Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit is still taking flight this year.

With a theme of "Art at a (Social) Distance," the show features 50 pieces of art set amid the 100-acre campus of Pingree School in Hamilton.

The exhibit runs through Nov. 30 and is available to view during daylight hours on weekends and during holidays when school is not in session.

All visitors must wear masks, remain 6 feet apart from others, and refrain from touching sculptures or signs.

Many of the sculptures, created by a variety of artists who mostly reside in New England, are for sale.

For more information, visit pingree.org/news-events/flying-horse-outdoor-sculpture-exhibit.

Rockport Art Association opens its doors

The Rockport Art Association & Museum, at 12 Main St. in downtown Rockport, has reopened and is featuring a number of new exhibits.

On display now are "Art in the Tavern," a members exhibit featuring paintings, graphics, sculptures and photography, through Dec. 31, and the New Members Show, through Nov. 28.

The museum's current hours are Thursdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Visitors need to wear masks, and there is a rigorous schedule for daily cleaning. For those not comfortable attending shows in person, all major exhibits will also be available for online viewing and sales through the website at rockportartassn.org.   

Explore the Peabody Essex Museum

The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem now features a range of digital content at its website that allows visitors to explore its collection remotely.

Podcasts discuss recent exhibits and museum history, while stories reflect on the value and impact of art. There are also suggestions for crafts and activities for the whole family.

Clicking on the "Explore Art" button at pem.org allows viewers to examine highlights from several periods and categories in the museum's international collection, while postings of art and objects at facebook.com/peabodyessexmuseum respond to each day at hand.

The museum has reopened to the public and is open Thursdays through Sundays. Tickets must be purchased in advance at pem.org or 978-542-1511.

Music Man keeps entertaining children

Wenham musician Brian Doser performs children's music live on Facebook every weekday at 10 a.m.

Doser, better known as The Music Man, normally performs a drop-in music program for children three days a week at The Community House in Hamilton.

He is often joined by his daughter Hannah, who sings and plays various instruments, for the 45-minute segments.

Doser has also been offering shows geared toward adults on weekends, featuring popular cover songs and some original tunes.

To check out his shows, visit facebook.com/briandosermusic.     

If you have an event to add to this roundup, please email the details to Ann Reily, assistant managing editor of features, at areily@northofboston.com

Zooming for the holidays: Jim Brickman to play Christmas concert for Lied Center - Lincoln Journal Star

Posted: 26 Nov 2020 02:51 PM PST

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Jim Brickman

Jim Brickman will present an online Christmas concert to benefit the Lied Center for Performing Arts on Sunday. 

Thanks to the virus that stole Christmas, Jim Brickman couldn't do his annual holiday tour.

So the pianist and songwriter found a new way to get around to the cities he'd planned to visit in person over the next month: an online "tour" he's calling "Comfort & Joy at Home."

By Christmas, that online tour will have made "stops" in more than 80 places that Brickman would have played, beginning Sunday with Lincoln and the Lied Center for Performing Arts.

"We were planning on coming to the Lied Center for Christmas," Brinkman said. "So I wanted to make it as close to what we would be doing as possible and still involve the local theater."

Virtually simulating the real thing begins with the show's presentation.

"People are used to seeing me solo, which is why we're able to do this," Brickman said. "But I'm not playing the piano from my couch. We have a beautiful set design. It's basically the same set design that we'd be taking out, done in the studio. It will look beautiful and it will sound beautiful."

Lied Center suspends in-person audiences in December

It is critical to bring in the audience, Brickman said, to somehow turn the now-common livestreamed performances into something more than just people sitting at home, watching a screen.

"We're doing it in a Zoom room, so I can see you and you can see me," he said. "It's not a passive show, like a typical streaming show. We'll interact. You can clap, sing along. Maybe I'll ask, 'If you want to hear this song or that song, raise your hand.' There's a meet-and-greet afterward where we can talk."

Zoom, which will have higher quality audio than, say, a Facebook Live stream, should make Brickman's show better and more satisfying than the experience of watching the livestreams that have become ubiquitous during the pandemic.

"They all have the same quality to them, whether they're at home or doing a full show on a stage," Brickman said. "Doing it this way, you're doing more shows for fewer people, but it's a different, better experience. It's interactive. But because we're doing it with the community, you might be on with friends, see somebody you know.

"And it will be a show for that community. If I'm in Albuquerque, you can't say, 'Go Big Red.' These things matter. It makes it unique and special."

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The show will, of course, be made up of Christmas music, combining standards with Brickman's holiday compositions. There will, however, not be a standard set list used for every show.

"I've been playing these songs for so many years, I have them under my fingers," he said. "A lot of the original songs I've written, if I don't know them, we're in trouble. I don't really practice, maybe a little. I do what comes to me, the vibe that I'm feeling when I'm playing, like what feels right now is something sentimental or the next song should be happy."

The Grammy-nominated hit-making instrumentalist brings his award-winning songwriting skills to his Christmas songs that are widely viewed as some of the best contemporary holiday compositions.

"Most new Christmas songs tend to be trite," Brickman said. "A lot of them even begin the same way — the lights are on the tree, Santa's coming down the chimney — things that are obvious. I tend to write something that reflects the feeling of that year.

"My song this year, 'Fa La La, Ho Ho Ho,' is a very up-tempo, happy, feel-good, call and response song. I meant it to be a live song, where I could do a call and response with the audience. I wanted to do that this year because it should be happy, an escape from what we've been going through."

Many downtown Lincoln projects still moving forward despite pandemic

One thing Brickman won't do in the shows is dwell on the fact that the audience is stuck at home and the performance is remote because of the pandemic.

"I don't think it should be amplified; I think everybody knows," he said. "I might tease somebody and say, 'You could have cleaned your house for me.' But I have no intention of talking about it. We don't need to harp on it.

"What I want to do is make people forget about that for a couple hours. I have a song, from last year, about a little girl whose mother passes away. It's a beautiful song, but it's not right for this year. … We have enough of that."

Because the show is on Zoom, there are a limited amount of tickets available. And tickets, in this case, are literal — for Brickman has come with another Christmas tie-in to the show.

"Every ticket somebody buys, we send you a Christmas stocking, stuffed with all kinds of good stuff — a CD of music, popcorn, hot chocolate, a ticket to the show, crayons to draw Santa," he said.

As is the case for all of the performances, the Lied Center will receive a portion of the proceeds. Brickman is doing his part to support the theaters where he regularly performs, most of which, unlike the Lied, have been shuttered since March.

If there's a silver lining to moving online, Brickman said, it is that some people who know about him and have considered coming to a concert can buy a ticket for as little as $40 for their family and maybe some friends to see the show.

"I think it grows the audience," he said. "You have people who may not want to drive down to the Lied Center, pay a babysitter, go out to dinner, all that stuff, that still might want to see me, hear me. With one ticket per household, they can do it affordably, have five or six people watching, maybe. It's an opportunity for those who may like Jim Brickman's music to see the show who might never go out to see it. And if they like it, they might come to see me live next year."

With the likelihood that concerts will return by summer or fall of 2021, Brickman is already planning to do an in-person holiday tour next year. But he may not entirely scrap the online shows.

"If I'm invited to come back to the Lied Center, I want to come back," he said. "But let's say it's in Singapore, or a smaller town, where there's only 300-400 people who would come to a show. It could be done like this then."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7244 or kwolgamott@journalstar.com. On Twitter @KentWolgamott  

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