Guitarist Dave Nelson knows how important music can be in stressful times like these.
Nelson, a member of the famed band Heartsfield, along with Electric Dirt, a Levon Helm tribute band, performed April 27 to a virtual audience when he took the stage at The Venue in downtown Aurora, which remains closed because of the stay-at-home order implemented to slow the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. The weekly shows are streamed on The Venue's Facebook page and direct donations can be made at The Venue's website, themusicvenue.org.
Proceeds from the show benefit each week's musician and the Fox Valley Music Foundation, the nonprofit organization that operates The Venue at 21 S. Broadway Ave. (Route 25).
The new music series from The Venue and the Fox Valley Music Foundation, titled "Livestream on Broadway at The Venue," will take place at 8 p.m. every Monday night. The series kicked off April 6 with musician Noah Gabriel. Guitarist Scott Tipping, the musical director of The Venue, will take the stage May 4.
Shaw Media reporter Eric Schelkopf talked to Nelson, a Geneva resident. The interview has been edited for length and style.
Eric Schelkopf: Of course, these are strange times we are living in.
Dave Nelson: It's the first pandemic I've experienced. I was talking to my sister about this, who is about 10 years older than I am.
I told her that we don't think twice about polio now, and she reminded me that she did when she was a kid.
Schelkopf: I know Heartsfield had been scheduled to perform at The Venue on May 9, but that has been rescheduled to Aug. 29. I know you have been a member of Heartsfield since it reformed in 1999. I understand that you grew up on the band's music.
Nelson: I remember watching Heartsfield on the television show "Made in Chicago," which was later renamed "Soundstage." This would have been 1972 or 1973.
I was a big fan and I bought their records. I tried to learn some guitar parts from the Heartsfield records, back when I was learning the guitar. Heartsfield was a big influence.
Schelkopf: What drew you to the band in the first place?
Nelson: The songs were pretty cool. But I think it was all the guitars. Heartsfield have a guitar army. They had probably three or four guitarists.
They also were one of the best live bands that you could see anywhere. They would absolutely blow their headliner off the stage sometimes. They were that good.
The other thing that Heartsfield was absolutely amazing at was their vocal blend. Everybody sang like birds.
Still to this day, the hardest part of trying to keep it together with those songs is really working out the vocals.
Schelkopf: Thoughts on performing these days?
Nelson: We're still able to [make] music, we are still sharing music and people are still enjoying it.
[Note to readers: The Venue shares the following invitation to support the performance space.]
"The Fox Valley Music Foundation, a … nonprofit corporation, is in need of your help and Giving Tuesday, May 5, 2020, is the perfect opportunity. Giving Tuesday is also the chance to reflect with gratitude upon the last 10 months of the success of The Venue, the Foundation’s 200-seat music room. The Venue was the home to over 80 musical performances since its opening on June 1, 2019. The Foundation is inviting visitors to The Venue’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheVenueAurora to recall their experiences. Visitors also have the opportunity to make a donation to the Fox Valley Music Foundation to keep the staff employed and the lights on during the coronavirus quarantine. Visit themusicvenue.org to learn how you can donate to keep The Venue going while we’re temporarilyclosed."