Matthew Lien poses in his home studio with a teleconference screenshot of his Not Close but Personal co-producer Katherine McCullum in Whitehorse on April 14. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Yukon Arts Centre concert series to be streamed online

Yukon music lovers could soon be treated to live concerts over the internet

A Yukon concert series is being planned that aims to stream shows over the internet for Yukoners.

The free series, called Not Close but Personal, will stream on Facebook and YouTube, be broadcast on community TV and on CHON-FM.

Matthew Lien, one of the organizers, spoke with the News last week to preview and explain the concept of the series.

The series was expected to kick off this week but ran into issues and organizers are still working out several details before announcing new dates and a concert lineup.

Lien did, however, have some details to share about the concert series.

The concerts are planned for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7 to 8 p.m.

The Monday shows will feature community-based musicians and be available on the Not Close but Personal Facebook page.

These concerts will be broadcast from the performer’s home, allowing talent from outside Whitehorse the chance to participate since travel to the communities is not encouraged.

The at-home performances will be solo, unless multiple members of the musical act live together.

The Wednesday and Friday shows will be broadcast from the Yukon Arts Centre, with streaming happening in real time and the television broadcast beginning at 9 p.m.

The arts centre will have a minimal crew inside to operate the concerts, with staff expected to respect social distancing measures.

Lien said the precautions are put in place to be in compliance with the recommendations and orders of Dr. Brendan Hanley, the Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

The series is a way to help Yukon talent, he said.

“The purpose is a way of addressing the needs of the performing musicians and the crisis they find themselves in economically,” Lien said, explaining that musicians usually make a living by performing. Some may find themselves in economic distress due to not having gigs and this is part of the reason he created this concert series.

He said he feels that the entertainment these musicians can provide is what people in isolation need. He said a sense of gathering is “intrinsic to Yukon culture.”

“Music can really bridge that gap of social isolation,” Lien said.

He felt these two benefits alone were enough to get this project rolling.

Lien said these concerts should have a sense of intimacy, whether it is a performance in the musician’s home or the empty arts centre. He added that they will be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home, and thus should give you the feeling that the performer is right there in the room.

There has been a good response, with more than 30 applications from musicians.

He called it so far a who’s who of the Yukon music scene.

Funded in part by the Yukon government, the series will pay performers $1,000 for their appearance.

The Yukon Film Society is partnering as well, providing high-end video equipment to film the concerts.

“The Yukon Arts Centre shows will look quite beautiful,” Lien said.

The footage will be used in a project with the film society and Northwestel community TV. It will be used for editing and re-editing and audio remixing. Performers will be eligible for royalties from broadcasts under the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada.

The performers will have access to the footage for their own purposes also.

Lien wanted to thank everyone for showing support and trying to help people get through the pandemic. He said it was like shining a light through darkness.

“I am grateful that we live in a community that has so many great artists that, at a time like this, step up and share their art,” Lien said.

Contact Gord Fortin at gord.fortin@yukon-news.com

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