The Oxbow Arts and Cultural Committee has been offering open mic sessions for more than a year, giving talented musicians in the southeast a chance to showcase their talents for a crowd in a fun and informal setting.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a stop to those nights for the time being, so instead the committee took to Facebook Saturday night to offer what was billed as an Evening of Music.
Erin Brown, The Harmoniously Hip, Gina and Jull Bayliss, the Stewart Family, Laurie Fornwald, Karel Marek and Mary Lee McNeil, Corey Widenmaier and Jace Carritt showcased their talents during the evening.
The musicians sent pre-recorded videos to Megan Andersen, who was tasked with uploading the to Facebook.
“A few of the videos they had done before self-isolation, but most of them the artists had done in the last week,” said Andersen.
Facebook has a new feature to upload multiple videos in a batch, so she could add over 20 of them at a time, rather than one at a time or by using Facebook Live.
Each musician had one or two songs to perform during the evening.
“We were able to play them in any order, and they are able to play them for a week,” said Andersen.
Carole Stewart said it was her daughter who came up with the idea for the concert after seeing concerts and video clips by different musicians from around the world who are using social media to interact with fans.
“It was awesome. I had a lot of great feedback. People loved it and now we’re planning to do these once a month featuring one or two artists a month,” said Stewart.
These concerts provide enjoyment to people when they’re sitting at home and not able to get out.
Normally for the open mic nights, they will have five musicians perform three or four selections.
Some of the musicians who performed on Saturday were slated to be at an open mic night in April, but others slated to be at the open mic night couldn’t do the Evening of Music because they didn’t know how to record their performance.
The committee then found others who would be willing to perform.
“Everybody was local. We had everything from a 70-year-old trumpet player to kids in their 20s, and then we had some young kids who had preparing for the festival, so they also performed. It was a wide variety.”
Andersen reported some of the videos have been seen more than 1,000 times already. She would like to know how many different people have watched those videos.
Some of the performers hadn’t done a recording before, and they found it a little overwhelming.
Saturday’s concert featured musicians from throughout the southeast region, including Lampman, Carnduff, Glen Ewen and Frobisher, but most of the performers were Oxbow and Alameda-based musicians.
People who saw Saturday’s concert were generally impressed with the performances and the musicians involved.
Stewart said the open mics were started as a chance to showcase the talent in the southeast. Musicians might get the chance to show their skills when they post a video online, or when they perform at church or for family and friends.
“We just wanted them to have an opportunity to perform on a stage or be heard somewhere. There is a heap of talented musicians down in this area. I haven’t touched on even half of them or a quarter of them.”