The show must go on-line

Braimah Kanneh Mason Town Hall Symphony Hall

As concerts and gigs are still being cancelled as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, Town Hall Symphony Hall has continued to bring live music to the people of Birmingham and beyond.

Digital broadcasts from Town Hall and Symphony Hall in the last three months have amassed almost 200,000 views, whilst over 150 singers have joined online music making workshops.

Following the success of those live performances and digital workshops, the music charity responsible for Town Hall and Symphony Hall have today announced a new season of online activities.

Every Friday at 7PM through to November, an array of musicians will entertain online audiences with pre-recorded concerts from Symphony Hall. All filmed in the last few weeks, the performances feature music commissioned exclusively for the music charity performed by Reuben James,Namywa and Ashley Allen; an exclusive performance by the classical violinist featured on Clean Bandit’s number one single ‘Rockabye’, Braimah Kanneh-Mason; and performances from internationally recognised artists including the high voltage daughter of legendary jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater and Gilbert Moses, China Moses and world renowned concert organist Thomas Trotter.

This August, in place of the annual non-residential Jazzlines Summer School, 16-24 year olds will be invited to take part in Virtually Vocal Sessions – a week of FREE vocal workshops led by professional vocalist and songwriter Sara Colman. The only instrument these young musicians will need is there voice.

This month would have been the 10 year anniversary of Community Spirit, a project run by Town Hall Symphony Hall in partnership with Black Voices. The project offers local community choirs the opportunity to share repertoire and perform as a collective in a large-scale concert in Symphony Hall. And although the large-scale concert can not currently take place, the sharing of repertoire will continue online monthly for the foreseeable future.

The Government recently announced that, subject to the success of pilots that are taking place over the next few weeks, socially distanced audiences can return for indoor performances in theatres, music halls and other venues from 1 August. Sadly this does not signal an end to the crisis for the performing arts, and it remains the case that until we can operate our halls at full capacity, we will continue to accrue losses. This period of closure has already resulted in huge losses and directly impacts the 18,000 young people and adults we introduce to a world of music every year. Throughout this global pandemic, many registered charities are relying on the generosity of their supporters more than ever. The digital performances and activities we have continued - and will continue to deliver - in these desperate times have been made possible with the support of Town Hall and Symphony Hall’s audiences.

Nick Reed, Chief Executive for Town Hall Symphony Hall

A survey conducted by the Music Venues Trust revealed that only 13% of venues could open with 2-metre social distancing in place and of those the majority said it would be financially ruinous to do so due to the reduced number of attendees.