Yukon artists to perform seasonal music
Nov 20 2020
The Yukon bubble may have shrunk back down to the size of the territory this month, but that change won’t impact the kickoff to the Yukon Arts Centre’s holiday programming. That’s because, this year, it’s focussed on local artists.
“We were looking for local artists that haven’t had an opportunity to play for a while, but also artists who would embody the warm and seasonal and relaxing music that would kind of get you in the mood for Christmas and take you out of COVID and all the worries associated with that,” says Michele Emslie, director of programming for YAC.
Emslie spoke over the phone the same day new travel restrictions were announced in the territory—restrictions that would curtail future plans for B.C. performances, something YAC had been planning for this fall. Still, Emslie sounded optimistic, while at the same time, serious about the measures YAC staff have been taking to ensure current COIVD protocols are followed at the centre.
When you buy a ticket for a show, YAC’s ticketing software automatically seats you six feet from the closest audience member. Spacing is built into bookings so the potential for people to pass each other in the aisles is minimized.
“We have also purchased these sort of super soakers and we spray the whole theatre, every railing and every seat so everything has been sanitized,” says Emslie. This is done anytime multiple events are taking place within the same 48-hour window. She adds that, while wearing a mask is not yet mandatory, it is encouraged and most patrons have been opting to mask up for performances and visits.
In a way, following protocol has been the easy part. With travel restrictions in flux, planning performances has been difficult.
“It’s just an ongoing jigsaw puzzle,” she says of staying on top of what’s happening across Canada and the Yukon. “The pieces keep moving, so, in some cases … it allows for us to be opportunistic.”
One of those opportunities includes an upcoming week of performances from northern artists.
On Nov. 25, Fawn Fritzen will be backed by pianist David Restivo. Fritzen, a multilingual singer, songwriter and storyteller, is looking forward to the show because she says the pandemic has hit her where it hurts when it comes to nurturing relationships and connecting.
“Connection is a fundamental human need,” she says. “As a musician, one of the important ways for connecting with others and with my community is through live performance, so to have this opportunity to be back in a space with living, breathing humans is a gift.”
The Lucie D Quartet will do a French performance of seasonal songs on Nov. 26. On Nov. 27, Café des Voix, which performs jazz standards (including Broadway, blues and sometimes folk and pop), will feature singers Coralie Langevin, Tom Lips, Sarah Hamilton, Dale Cooper, Grant Hartwick and Elaine Schiman. Annie Avery will be on piano, with Anne Turner on bass and Lonnie Powell on drums.
Emslie says she expects the performances to be emotional for audiences and performers. Many haven’t been in front of a live audience since February or March, she says. Artists are touched, honoured and aware that they’re in the minority among their colleagues right now.
Avery agrees. “The opportunity to perform live has a whole new meaning for us, she says. “We appreciate it more and are more grateful to all the factors that enable it to happen. After something is taken away, it is not taken for granted again. Every note counts. Every note is special."
Click links below for ticket purchase. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for youth and seniors.