Chief Theater uses smartphones and Facebook to host ‘Keep the Lights On’ virtual concert featuring local musicians
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — “In World War II when London was being bombed, they kept the symphony going. The ballet in Russia kept going when it (Leningrad) was under siege… the arts will always keep going,” said Chief Theater Executive Director Scott Parker as he readies for a performance fundraiser amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.
While the virus isn’t a war, Parker said, people turn to entertainment to make their days better, whether it’s music, movies or internet memes.
“Even if that means tuning into Facebook to watch your favorite local musician,” Parker said.
The Chief decided to continue its annual musical fundraiser via YouTube livestream from the theater this year, but even that had to be cancelled. Parker’s plans to limit tech workers to only three people and have the talent spaced out — one at a time — still didn’t meet the statewide stay-at-home order issued by the governor. Instead, local musicians will livestream their acts from their living rooms Saturday night using computers or their smartphones. Supporters can go on to the Chief’s Facebook page to watch and enjoy.
“Since it’s on Facebook Live, we’ll be able to play upbeat cover songs… pop and indie songs,” said local musician and teacher Hayley Berg, who will be performing with her musician boyfriend Mike Martinez during the fundraiser.
Other performers include violinist Carolyn Berns and singing duo Andrew Pratt and Suzy Bouzo.
Parker said nobody has to donate money to watch and listen.
“While we are billing this as a fundraiser to help keep the Chief’s lights on, we understand if you can’t donate at this difficult time, just sit back and enjoy,” said Parker in a massive email to friends of the historic downtown theater.
Berg said she wouldn’t miss the Chief’s fundraiser after all the theater has done for the local community of artists.
“The Chief has given us a lot of cool opportunities we wouldn’t have otherwise,” said Berg, who has performed in the theater’s Cabaret production and during its Super Fun Shows.
“We have friends in theatrics as well, and we love getting to come watch them,” Berg said. “I’m not sure they’d be able to perform if not for the Chief.”
Parker said the Chief already has received a few donations after sending out the email to its fans.
“It’s not a hard ask, but if you have it and are willing to share, we’ll gladly take it,” Parker said.
What: Streaming musical fundraiser for the Chief Theater
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, March 28
Where: Live on the Chief’s Facebook page
The Chief Theater has been around since 1927, and Parker said he hopes it will continue to be an integral part of the Yampa Valley arts community.
Performances begin live at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 28 at 7 p.m. on the Chief Theater Facebook page.
Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.
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