After a year of putting local talent in the spotlight amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre isn’t dimming the lights anytime soon.
“One of the opportunities that we saw when COVID hit was that we were able to refocus our resources on local artists and their work,” said Erin Kennedy, Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre artistic director.
“Usually we present shows from across Canada and across the world.”
The Focus Online Series concludes this week, but the show will go on. Kennedy and her team will be releasing previously unseen songs from the performances bi-weekly.
The Focus Online Series big finale on April 1 features five acts including Moot Murphy, frontman of the roots reggae band Chipko Jones.
For Murphy, it’s always been a dream to play on the performing arts centre’s stage.
“I have always wanted to play here. It meant a lot, even if COVID didn’t happen, but the added factor of not being able to play for so long and being able to come here and play in a place like this, it was incredible,” said Murphy.
The online series came with a steep price tag for equipment but, it’s all a part of a bigger plan.
“For the gear that we bought for the streaming and the renovation of the Marie Flemming Hall that we are trying to turn into a studio that local organizations would be able to rent is around $85,000,” said Kennedy.
“What we are hoping this room can be utilized (by) the local community…to rent and use their own material and have professional-grade materials so that they can then promote themselves as artists.”
The gear also provides an opportunity to cater to a wider audience.
“The new audio desk allows us, when performing live concerts, to be able to send it to a digital platform, so when we return to full-size productions we can still (let) those who are maybe mobility challenged or outside of the area to see the showcase going on and participate,” said Ryle Block, Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre technical director.
The sixth and final episode of The Focus Online Series will air on April 1. For information about the other upcoming series visit the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre website.