The pandemic and virtual concerts

The COVID-19 pandemic was rough on a lot of different dimensions. But one that I want to highlight is the performing arts. Actually, more specifically than that, I want to focus on some organizations that decided to turn their concerts into virtual concerts.

I really like going to concerts, especially orchestral music, ballet, and opera. But since having kids, I don’t really have time to do it. It’s a big commitment, both in time and monetary. My kids were just never consistent enough in their needs for me to be comfortable buying tickets for something. That was a little sad.

Now enter COVID-19 and all concert places close. But some decide to figure out how to take it to the internet. On those, there were three kinds:

  1. Live concerts – you have a specific time that it starts and ends
  2. On-demand, but time-limited concerts – you have a few days to watch, but you can watch whenever you want
  3. Fully recorded – the concert is available to watch whenever you want and will be available forever (or at least for a very long time).

I think due to licensing costs, most professional performing arts organizations are doing options 1 & 2. Now, especially with option 2, I can watch it again! Which has been pretty amazing when I can. The best one this last few months has been the Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB). I have to admit that out of those 3 types of performances that I talked above, ballet is the one that I understand the least. But being able to just sit at home, on my living room, and watch an “almost kind of live” concert has been pretty cool.

I hope when we come out of this, the virtual concerts will continue. Right now that’s what the next season seems to suggest, but it’s still a pretty “hybrid” state for the pandemic. So I can’t really tell yet if it will be something that is here to stay or not.

I can’t end this post without being saddened by the arts organizations that were not able to survive this pandemic. Switching gears and being able to figure out the technology and way to interact with the audience during this period was not for everybody. My hope is that things will come back. Just like many restaurants closed during this pandemic will likely be replaced by other restaurants, most (hopefully) of those organizations that closed will either reopen or be replaced by another organization to fill in the gap. We will get through with the pandemic.

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