While the novel coronavirus has put a damper on live entertainment across the globe, one Niagara non-profit is figuring out new ways to get music out to fans from the comfort of their home.
Music Niagara, in partnership with Niagara College's broadcasting department, filmed a live concert Aug. 6. It will be available for viewing as of Aug. 30.
The event showcased the music of Quartetto Gelato in an intimate setting at Chateau des Charmes winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Artistic director Atis Bankas said it's "very exciting to be able to put a concert together, even though it's in a virtual way."
"We have to adapt to conditions at hand, the reality at hand, and I don't think that reality will leave us very quickly," he said of hosting shows during a global pandemic.
"We have to be creative and do the best we can to entertain. And, at the same time, I would say when times are dire, which they are, psychologically and physically … the arts have much more importance than ever before — especially music. Music has the ability to soothe the soul."
Karen Lade, general manager of Music Niagara, said the season had originally planned 30 live shows, but instead will be doing 13, and filming five as part of its new "At Home Series."
"Instead of going live with a live audience, we partnered with Niagara College's film crew, and we will be filming today and with a very small audience of sponsors, which is fantastic," she said.
The show was hosted by NOTL comedian Joe Pillitteri and dedicated to Elaine Lavery, who died of cancer in June. She was a big supporter and fan of Music Niagara.
Her husband Bob Lavery said it was a nice tribute to Elaine.
"My wife was very fond of Music Niagara," he said.
"In addition to liking the presentations, she liked the people she met. And she always felt it was a wonderful social event. And she used to say that the opening event during the spring was the social event of the year. So it means a lot to her. It means a lot to me, too."
Randy LeGallais, a board member of Music Niagara, said it's important to keep shows going, so people don't "forget who you are."
"It's very important that we keep our name out in front of them and our product out front," he said.
Lade said the shows help the whole community.
"I think it's really important to work together with our partners like Chateau des Charmes, our other venue partners, as well as Niagara College because we need to work together during this time to keep our community thriving."