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Ottawa musicians being showcased through month-long virtual concert series

Encore Ottawa has amassed more than 40 hours worth of footage, airing on Rogers TV and on YouTube.
File photo.

Encore Ottawa is offering local musicians a platform to perform during the pandemic and get connected with arts grants from the city.

Partnering with Rogers TV and the Shenkman Arts Centre for the month of April, Encore Ottawa airs Fridays at 8 p.m., and hopes to post a total of 40 pre-recorded concerts to YouTube by the end of the month.

Executive Director of the Ottawa Music Coalition Jamie Kwong says the goal is to address gaps in Ottawa’s music industry during the pandemic.

“We asked the city if they were interested in brokering a partnership with us on showcasing local musicians, because there was no concerts or touring happening, we wanted to showcase local talent,” says Kwong.

“The city was able to connect us with the Shenkman Arts Centre. The venue was closed at the time and they were more than happy to provide a venue space to host these concerts. We also got Rogers TV on board to create a bunch of pre-recorded concerts.”

By partnering with the city and distributing $25,000 to musicians through the Ottawa Music Development Fund, able to connect 50 artists with small grants to support the local arts scene through the pandemic.

According to Kwong, Encore Ottawa is bringing people from all corners of the music industry to work on the project. Collaborating with artists, lighting and stage directors, sound engineers and television production crews, they have completed the first season of concerts currently airing on Rogers TV.

Kwong says after eight months of having no outlet due to the initial lockdowns and venues closures, it was great to see the music industry coming together for something positive.

“Everyone who was tied to music hadn’t done anything for months, seeing everyone come to the stage with so much enthusiasm for performing and creating a production, it was amazing,” says Kwong.

“The artists were all so grateful for the opportunity of just being on a stage and performing. You could see their energy and you could feel it when you watch their concerts, that this is what they love.”

By bringing together sound engineers and the crews at Rogers TV, Encore has been able to create professional quality concerts for artist portfolios, providing them with sharable content they can be proud of.

“All of us are tuning into music and streaming shows, but this is the starting point for so many artists that we love. Supporting them this way means a lot,” add Kwong.

Two new showcases air every Friday with reruns airing the following Monday and Tuesday on Rogers TV.

Anyone interested in viewing the free concerts can find out more here.

Rogers Sports & Media is the parent company of CityNews Ottawa.

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