The current pandemic poses a lot of challenges and is changing the way we do many things but through it all, art is helping bring us together, just as it always has.
While social distancing requirements and other health measures have meant many artists have had to cancel shows and other events, the VOCM Variety Hour is giving them a platform to share their talents and delighting and inspiring audiences with music, readings, comedy and more.
The eight-episode series (which airs Fridays at 7pm island time) kicked off on April 24 and will run until June 12. The kitchen party style program features local musicians, actors, authors, comedians, storytellers and more doing what they do best. Hosted by Greg Smith, the program is a partnership between Stingray/VOCM, Business & Arts NL, MusicNL and Genoa Design International.
The idea came together in March over a series of virtual, Town Hall-style meetings where Business & Arts NL arts members expressed concern about not being able to connect with audiences and lost income from cancelled events. After reaching out to Stingray, who proposed the idea for the program, Genoa jumped on board to supply artist fees. MusicNL has been vital in connecting with local musicians, who make up the bulk of the program each week.
It’s a unique, collaborative partnership says Sherri Breen, Operations & Program Manager at MusicNL, and one that she’d like to see more of.
“We’re all in the same industry and we all can be better when we (pool) our resources and we focus on the goal of assisting artists during this time.”
Since its debut, the show has been a success with many applications coming in from artists interested in taking part and positive feedback from the community. In addition to helping support artists through fees sponsored by Genoa, the VOCM Variety Hour website also includes a virtual tip jar that allows listeners to donate to the CAPE Fund, which supports local arts and culture workers during emergency situations.
“During this pandemic, we’re all looking for ways to feel connected, to be distracted, to be part of stories that are bigger than ourselves – the arts community provides this,” says Gina Pecore, Chief Executive Officer at Genoa Design.
“Genoa is proud to support artists in our community through the VOCM Variety Hour. Radio is the perfect safe and accessible way to share their craft.”
Tune into the VOCM Variety Hour on Fridays at 7pm (until June 12) or listen online. Interested in taking part? Musicians can submit their performances to MusicNL (click here), while other artists can submit clips to Business & Arts NL (click here).