DeKALB – Since mid-August, the Egyptian Theatre has been hosting weekly live music performances via Facebook Live.
The #815Live concert series is presented at 6 p.m. Thursdays on the theater’s Facebook page. The videos are posted on the Egyptian’s YouTube channel and Twitter the next day.
Watching the performances is free, but donations will be collected during the broadcast to support local music. Donations can be made online at www.815Live.org or by texting 815Live to 44321.
The concert series is sponsored in part by the Farney R. Wurlitzer Foundation.
Upcoming performances will be by The DeKalb Brass on Sept. 10, the Stage Coach Players on Sept. 17 and Mark Walters on Sept. 24.
“Local venues have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and so have local artists,” said Jeanine Holcomb, the theater’s marketing and communications director. “We wanted to find a way to bring live local music to others during this time.”
Music genres vary each week and include jazz, musical theater, folk and country music.
The New Normal Jazz Band performed on Sept. 3. The band also has a livestream performance every other Friday night. The next performance will be Sept. 11. The band also has performed at Oak Crest – DeKalb Area Retirement Center every Saturday morning for 15 to 20 years. During the pandemic, the band occasionally has performed in Oak Crest’s parking lot.
Clarinetist John Skillman said he’s had listeners express their appreciation for the livestream performances in the video’s comments, and that the concerts bring a sense of normalcy to listeners.
“One person said, ‘Listening to you play is the sanest I’ve been all week,’” Skillman said.
Holcomb said the livestream concerts can be watched anywhere with internet, from outdoors to at home in pajamas.
“You can watch the concerts at home with a wine and cheese plate, and you can see the Egyptian Theatre from a different perspective,” Holcomb said. “Art, whether it’s music or film, can hit emotions without knowing. Jazz can make you serene, musical theater can make you happy. During the quarantine, we haven’t had a lot of human contact. Music can fill that void and make you feel.”