Running an arts organization has never been easy, but in March of this year, things suddenly got a lot more difficult. The fact that the 2020 Music and Beyond festival would have to be cancelled was especially heartbreaking because we were well on track to a fabulous season with record-breaking ticket sales.
The discussion quickly turned to what else we could be doing. For me, listening live to great music, performed by fabulous musicians in a superb venue is certainly one of life’s great experiences. How could we create content that people would watch on their small computers and hand-held devices that would replicate this experience? We have all been bombarded with a massive amount of content (in all genres) sending out performances recorded in basements or kitchens by primitive devices. The final result rarely reflects the great artistry of the performers.
We then realized what we needed to do. We needed to create video content that goes well beyond what anyone could ever experience in a live concert. We needed to offer a range of experiences that could never be possible in a live setting. We needed to offer a tremendous amount of additional content. We needed to offer the best-quality production, including the best-possible sound and videography (some of our videos use 12 different cameras), and the most creative editing. We needed to offer world-class musicians all recorded in superb venues.
The musicians for our 100 videos were a dream team. A wide range of performers participated in the videos including violinists Jonathan Crow and Yolanda Bruno; National Ballet of Canada principal dancer Sonia Rodriguez; rising superstar mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta; Montreal’s superb Cirque Fantastic; clarinetist Kimball Sykes; trumpeter Karen Donnelly; pianist Frédéric Lacroix; double bass virtuoso Joel Quarrington; organist Matthew Larkin; singer Kellylee Evans; and literally dozens of others. Almost all performances were filmed with the musicians actually performing live together—safely, of course!
The videos have four different main series: Music and Nature, filmed throughout the Canadian Museum of Nature and offering performances that reflect the exhibits and galleries of the museum (this major initiative was strongly championed by Sandy Hill resident, John Swettenham, the museum’s Chief Marketing Officer); Music and Law hosted by The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, who relates stories of the legal problems of some of history’s great composers; Music and Circus featuring Montreal’s Cirque Fantastic; and Beyond Ottawa, a series of videos filmed outside Ottawa from performers who were not able to come to the live festival as originally planned.
Rogers TV provided superb videography. Further cameras and expert editing was provided by Associate Producer Steve Johnston and his company Ably Productions. Interestingly enough, Ottawa mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta (now living in England), who is well on her way to becoming an international superstar, is also an expert video editor, and edited a number of our videos.
We have 50 videos in English (et 50 vidéos en français). They can all be viewed by visiting www.musicandbeyond.ca
I do hope you enjoy them!