Friday, May 14, 2021

Virtual Concert, Adventure Series to Help Raise the Roof

The Meaford United Church has teamed up with classically trained fusion electric violinist Victoria Yeh in a fundraiser that is both a unique experience and a bright note during these long days of isolation.

Yeh has created a six-part Travel by Sound Virtual Concert & Adventure Series, six virtual concerts that she describes as a “ground-breaking musical adventure”. Travel by Sound features six different bands and more than 20 world-renowned artists.

Yeh invites her viewers to join her on bold adventures to explore the hidden gems of the Bruce, Grey, and Simcoe Counties while she learns to fly fish on the Rocky Saugeen, snowshoes on the Bayview Escarpment, kayaks the Beaver River, flies over Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe in a float plane, and performs in the Orillia Opera House, Collingwood’s Simcoe Street Theatre, Southampton Town Hall, Meaford Hall, and Heartwood Hall in Owen Sound.

Yeh is offering six virtual concerts and adventures for $60 to view at home on demand with unlimited replays until the end of 2021, with 92 per cent of the sales to go to the Meaford United Churchs Raise the Roof Campaign.

Episode 1: Spirit Awakens Trio at the Southampton Town Hall, with a tour of the Southampton Art Gallery

Episode 2: Aaron Davis Quartet at the Orillia Opera House, with a float plane tour courtesy Lake Country Airways

Episode 3: Paul DeLong’s ONE WORD at Collingwood’s Simcoe St Theatre, with Ken Chandler Fly Fishing and a Free Spirit Tours kayak trip

Episode 4: Winter Classics at Meaford Hall, with a winter hike through the Bruce Trail and garlic planting at Sunrise Organics

Episode 5: Freeman Brothers at Owen Sound’s Heartwood Hall, with a tour of Inglis Falls

Episode 6: Victoria Yeh and Friends, with a special behind-the-scenes peek of the making of the series

The iconic church is 112 years old and its roof trusses need to be replaced, according to campaign committee chair Ross Kentner. “The Raise the Roof Campaign was launched in 2018 with a goal of $250,000 to replace the roof trusses, to fit the church for its next 100 years,” he said. “We’re on the home stretch and expecting the work to be done later this year.

If live concerts were an option, the Meaford United Church would be a perfect venue for a Victoria Yeh performance. The sanctuary is one of the most spacious and versatile performance venues in the region and available for public performances and events. Concert goers are wrapped in architectural and acoustical splendour.”

Alas, live performances have not been an option during the COVID pandemic, and performers like Yeh have struggled to keep their music alive. The year 2020 was lining up to be what she describes as “a really amazing year for me as a musician”. She had just finished a year as Musician-in-Residence for the Heliconian Club in Toronto, was about to launch and tour her new album Spirit Awakens, and was scheduled to perform the Sibelius Violin Concerto as a soloist with the Summerhill Orchestra. She was auditioning for the Concertmaster position of the Georgian Bay Symphony, and had been invited to join Paul DeLong’s ONE WORD band for a jazz festival tour in the summer.

It felt like an amazing culminating moment,” she said, “and it all came to a very abrupt end in March.

I knew I wanted to create an augmented and elevated experience that couldn’t be replicated live. I introduce my audience to the community where I’m filming. The actual concert is filmed dynamically on stage, so that the audience gets a truly intimate and behind-the-scenes perspective. I take my audience on cool expeditions to explore the hidden gems around Bruce, Grey, and Simcoe Counties. From a sound quality perspective, each concert is recorded live off the floor with a multi-track audio interface, and later mixed and mastered in post-production.

In order to create and launch the series, I had to first seek out sponsors. Luckily, I had an established working relationship with BruceGreySimcoe Regional Tourism Organization (RTO7), and they stepped up as the major sponsor. Each participating municipality also sponsored their own episodes, as did Long & McQuade and D’Addario. I was also fortunate enough to receive a Grey County Starter Company Plus Recovery grant, and an Ontario Covid recovery grant.”

Videography is by Yeh’s partner, Trevor Hesselink.

To purchase passes to the Travel by Sound Virtual Concert & Adventure Series, contact the Meaford United Church at 519-538-3416 or email muc@bmts.com.

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